Homelessness is a problem all over the world, and it has been since we’ve been recording the issues with our society.
There are always going to be poor folks, people down on their luck, people struggling with addiction or mental illness, or who have otherwise fallen through the cracks of programs and people trying to help make sure no one has to sleep out in the cold.
People all over the world have tried different approaches for addressing the issue for decades, and now, the city of Ulm (in Germany) is trying this – strategically-placed pods that will at least keep people warm while they’re sleeping.
The pods are made of steel and wood, are insulated and waterproof, and also make use of solar panels and communication services.
The temperatures in Ulm often drop below freezing, and so the city is attempting to place these pods in locations where homeless people often gather as a safety and humanitarian measure.
EuroWeekly News reports that the pods also contain an independent web connection, so people who are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the pods know which ones need to be cleaned when – and social workers can also check in to see if the occupant is in need of any other sort of assistance.
There are no cameras around or inside the sleeping space.
Known as the “Ulmer Nest,” Ulm first attempted these pods two years ago, but have since improved the insulation and the building materials to better protect the occupants against the elements.
Two people can occupy one at a time and in addition to being windproof and waterproof, they also circulate fresh air.
Ulm made this statement on Facebook when sharing photos of the updated design:
“Today the two Ulmer Nests were repositioned – unfortunately due to corona with delay, but just in time for the really cold nights. We hope to repeat last year’s positive feedback in order to provide a supplementary measure regarding the existing frostbite protection in Ulm in the long term.”
They also added that “further energy saving measures are in the works,” and concluded that “With the Ulmer Nests, we hope to offer a little bit of security and protection to those who depend most on it in Ulm.”
The pods do lock, which is essential for people feeling safe once inside.
Leadership in Ulm hopes that the pods will be adopted in other parts of Germany, and in other European countries, in the near future.