SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Alekz Londos thought of an idea that could give people on the street a warmer place to sleep, and a safer area to leave their belongings. The so-called micro tiny home is a box shaped unit with insulation that can fit one person with room to sleep and store belongings.
“This is not actually addressing the problem, [of homelessness] but it’s a really good band-aid to the solution,” Londos said.
Crossing the Soquel avenue bridge into Downtown Santa Cruz, you’ll see a group of tents squeezed along the railing overlooking the Riverwalk. There one man sits in what looks like a silver box.
“I close this door and I’m protected,” Ken Atkins said.
Atkins lives in the first micro tiny home. He's been homeless in Santa Cruz for about four years in and out of shelters, but during the pandemic he just wants his own safe space. He says now he's found that.
“It's been peaceful,” Ken said.
Alekz Londos is the mind and hands behind the project aimed at a low cost, environmentally friendly way to provide warmth and safety for those on the street.
“Homeless people don’t necessarily want a tiny home or a house. They just want something safe to sleep in right now,” Londos said.
Each unit costs about $500 to make.
"I don’t need a table saw, and any kind of complex stuff. I just need the basics,” Londos said.
Inside is insulated, there is a lock on the outside and wheels on the bottom so it can easily be moved.
Londos hopes the idea catches on, so others can replicate the idea around the world.
“What kind of morals do we have if we can’t provide just the basics so they can have a safe night’s sleep?” he said.
Londos says having an area where these micro homes could safely and legally be is the next step and would help this idea grow.
He raised enough money to build four micro homes for the pilot project, but since he raised a little extra, he thought he could help Ken with something else.
The 59-year-old with congestive heart failure’s wheel chair was stolen recently, and a KION camera was there as Alekz brought him a brand new one.
“Look me in my eyes," Ken said to Alekz. "You got me a micro tiny home and you also brought me friendship.”