This young carpenter shows us his hands-on approach to helping out a person in need.
After noticing a woman sleeping in the dirt outside his apartment in South L.A., he built her a little shelter.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the U.S., with close to 60,000 men, women, and children on the streets and in shelters in New York alone. Most people tend to sit back and say the government should do more, which is no doubt true, but the takeaway from this story is about goodhearted kindness from one person to another.
Using his own money, Elvis Summers spent around $500 on building materials, and hand-built a little shelter for a 60-year-old lady named Smokie to sleep in. A well-made, waterproof floor, roof, and walls to rest in at night, with a window for fresh air. It’s not, as some people are claiming, a “tiny-house,” as it’s only big enough for a mattress on the floor. It’s a shed—a little, lockable shelter.
Hopefully for Smokie she will move on to a permanent residence someday soon, but it’s better than sleeping in the dirt.
Elvis had recently been inspired by a story he read about a man building tiny homes for homeless people out of scrap building materials. So now he is carrying on the inspiration, and hopes more will follow.
Is this even legal?
That’s the question most of us will have next after feeling the love. Is it legal? Won’t the local government have it removed for being on the road? Yes, it’s on the road. Elvis thought this through and has negotiated with the local cops.
“The local LAPD cops have been super cool, and have told me they support it—as long as we move it to a different spot every 72 hours,” he told Good news Network.
So, Elvis put the little room on wheels.
Hopefully he has been able to inspire some people to go the extra mile for a homeless person. But, before you do something like this, check with the police about local laws and how to get around them.
I am going to take a guess here, and just say that there are homeless shelters Smokie could go to, but from what I’ve heard, they are often stinky and full of all sorts of people, some with disturbing mental problems, so it’s understandable that she was out on her own. I read that many homeless people prefer the street to the shelters in New York. They can go to them for food or a shower.
Smokie is still homeless. But for the first time in 10 years, she has a quiet place of her own. Maybe this will be the boost of confidence and love she needs to turn her life around.
To all the doubters
There were a number of people commenting on this video who really doubted this whole project, and Elvis’ intentions, saying he was just doing this for publicity, making money off YouTube adverts, that kind of thing. His good friend jumped in to his defense.
“To all the haters and doubters and those saying Elvis did this for his own profit or gain, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve known him for at least seven years. He is one of the most genuine and sincere people ever… He only did it to help the woman outside his apartment and it became something much bigger.”
“He filmed it so that he could inspire others and show how he did it, and the JOY it brings to Smokie. All of you trying to be negative and degrade this selfless act should be ashamed of yourselves. There are still people with good hearts in this world, trying to make a difference in a positive way, and Elvis is one of them. What have you done to help?”
Elvis has since been asked by other homeless people in his area to build them one.
He’d like to try, and is even going to discuss the matter with the mayor. He has a GoFundMe campaign, if you want to help.