EDAR photo
An EDAR unit

The not-for-profit organization called “Everyone Deserves a Roof” (EDAR) is distributing grocery-cart-like portable shelters for homeless people. Given the current availability of beds for homeless folks in many large cities around the US, a large proportion of people without homes must sleep in boxes, doorways, or simply under a tarp. EDAR units help overcome that.

Lots of people need shelter in the US.

These numbers, based on findings from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Urban Institute and specifically the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers, draw their estimates from a study of service providers across the country at two different times of the year in 1996. They found that, on a given night in October, 444,000 people (in 346,000 households) experienced homelessness – which translates to 6.3% of the population of people living in poverty. On a given night in February, 842,000 (in 637,000 households) experienced homelessness – which translates to almost 10% of the population of people living in poverty. Converting these estimates into an annual projection, the numbers that emerge are 2.3 million people (based on the October estimate) and 3.5 million people (based on the February estimate). This translates to approximately 1% of the U.S. population experiencing homelessness each year, 38% (October) to 39% (February) of them being children (Urban Institute 2000).

That’s surely more carts than can be given away. I don’t know how heavy these carts are or even what users think of them, but the basic idea seems pretty good to me. With the economy going the direction it is going, I bet there will be even greater demand for shelter in the coming months.

This is not a trivial problem. The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), for example, reported that its facilities have often been overcapacity; they overflowed for 42 consecutive months in the last part of the last decade and the first part of this decade and for 50 of the 53 months Nov of 1997 and Mar of 2002.

EDAR. My quote comes from a paper available from the National Coalition for the Homeless. See the MHSA document. See a story about the EDAR from the Los Angeles Times.

Learn more about homelessness from these sources:

Update (4:30 EST 12 Dec 08): I see that NPR has picked up on the story and there’s an entry at Groovy Green (cool name), too.



Filed under Equity, Neighborhood, News, Notes and comments, Politics, Technology

2 responses to “EDAR

  1. Pingback: Odd EDAR traffic « John Wills Lloyd

  2. Pingback: EDAR covered « John Wills Lloyd

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