Giving homeless people a measure of pride and privacy

Brenda Gardenhire shows off her new home with pride. It looks like an oversized shopping cart covered with a khaki canvas. But to her, it’s “wonderful” — a stepping stone to get her off the streets and get her life back in order. “It’s like your own home, your own apartment, your own room,” she said, showing off the 7-foot-long living space on wheels. “No one else can come in here but me.”

Gardenhire is talking about her makeshift home called an EDAR, which stands for Everyone Deserves A Roof. The units are being distributed to homeless people in the Los Angeles area by the Everyone Deserves A Roof nonprofit organization.

It’s the brainchild of “Revenge of the Nerds” movie producer Peter Samuelson, who has spent much of his life working with charities to help impoverished children. He got the idea to help the homeless in recent years as he rode his bicycle from Los Angeles to the beach at Santa Monica.

On those bike rides, he began seeing more and more homeless people. But he didn’t just whiz by. He stopped to talk with them — 62 people in all. One by one, he listened to their needs and what they wanted most: a roof over their heads. And the idea for the EDAR was born.

“If you had to define the value of a civilization, it’s not how many SUVs you’ve got,” Samuelson said. “To me, I think it’s how well do we take care of our children, our homeless people, our mentally ill, those less fortunate.”

The four-wheeled home has an expandable base that stays off the ground and is covered by a canvas, giving it the feel of a tent. It extends 86 inches and is 32 inches wide, thin enough to fit through standard doorways. Each unit has a mattress and sleeping bag to provide comfort. It’s also flame-retardant and sturdy enough to keep its occupants dry during heavy rains. A braking mechanism prevents the unit from rolling away at night. They also come with a chain and padlock to prevent it from being stolen.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…

RTFA. Samuelson is “doing something about it” instead of playing at debate society with the ideologues of America.

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