This product, described as a 'satellite shelter', is not a basic item need though like coats, hats, or gloves to protect you from the cold winter's chill while you're outside your warm home; these tent-beds are intended to BE the home, in the cold! And, when we're dealing with a person's dignity, health & wellbeing, and their basic human need for decent shelter; we can, and must, do better than this.
A thermal sleeping bag that turns into a tent- made just for homeless people; how could this product not be a great idea? Well, that would depend on your point of view, and what outcome you want to achieve with this product. Either way, there is a side to this recent product that will likely escape the thoughts of most housed residents; and that’s how this will actually play-out in the lives of our less fortunate.
This product, described as a ‘satellite shelter’, is not a basic item need though like coats, hats, or gloves to protect you from the cold winter’s chill while you’re outside your warm home; these tent-beds are intended to BE the home, in the cold! And, when we’re dealing with a person’s dignity, health & wellbeing, and their basic human need for decent shelter; we can, and must, do better than this.
In my experience with the issues of homelessness, I would caution that if this “over-the-shoulder refuge that could serve as an alternative to a standard homeless shelter” be made readily and freely available, there would be a flood of these tents popping up everywhere and anywhere around our city. And, eventually, it will become a primary form of shelter for chronic & habitual homelessness- fostering in a new form of unsuitable housing.
There is a critical flaw in thinking when we seek to ‘accommodate’ homelessness; as it deflects our efforts and resources away from our primary moral obligation of trying to end it. And, as harsh as it may sound, we don’t want to be making homelessness more comfortable, or socially acceptable. That approach is counterproductive on every level, and it will only serve to enable living on the streets.
My concern with this latest ‘solution’ to homelessness is that the tent-beds could be adopted into our culture as an acceptable alternative to sustainable & affordable housing because “It’s better than nothing!” But it’s not. And, instead of handing someone a tent-bag on the street and wishing them the best of luck, we should be providing immediate access to warm, safe shelter for the night- followed up with a needs assessment by a housing worker, and/or a counselor, to work on resolving the issue.