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Escape Pods for Humanity

With Escape Pods for Humanity each human being can have transportation, accommodation, electricity and enhanced security for $1000 per year.

Photo of Gary Frans

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

A small electric vehicle, Escape Pods for Humanity (EPs) are Portable, Self-Powered Emergency, Temporary & Long-term Shelters that provide: TRANSPORTATION for One Person plus some possessions. ACCOMMODATION – a dry, comfortable place for 1 adult to sleep AND sit. ELECTRICITY – The ability to power personal electronics. PHYSICAL SECURITY- Increased personal safety while sleeping. ECONOMIC SECURITY - Personal items can be secured. (a BIG PLUS for us homeless). Implementation is relatively simple. Host a design competition. Select a design appropriate for the intended climate. Give one to every homeless person capable of benefiting from it. Pods provide emergency temporary housing, transportation & independent power sources in disaster areas. EPs are a new type of vehicle, based on the following parameters: A simple, battery-powered vehicle for one person that converts into an enclosed cot sized area for sleeping. Light-weight tubular frame similar to a bicycle, but with 3-4 wheels for stability. Solar panel roof enables self-recharge capability. Estimated Cost – $1000 to $5000 each Weather tight against wind and rain. Sleeps one adult comfortably dry. USB recharging for portable electronics. Enhanced Security. The vehicle can be locked and secured. No license required. Durability – each unit should remain serviceable for at least one year. Available space to optionally include a portable toilet. Top speed limited for safety.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Wherever there is sun, wherever there are homeless souls, wherever there are disasters displacing human beings - Escape Pods for Humanity can not only save lives, enhance security, provide electricity and transportation - they can restore human dignity. People, no matter how poor, can have a home of their own, decorate it to their tastes and move as their needs dictate without asking anyone's permission - Freedom!

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

With acceptance and infrastructure in place, many Young Urban Professionals will also choose to live at least part-time in similar, independently produced, upgraded versions. Avoiding the commute, many YUPs will spend some overnights in the city, returning to their homes only on weekends. This will reduce congested commutes and blur the lines between housed and homeless. This will reduce the stigma of homelessness and promote a minimalist, less resource intensive lifestyle.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

This is a humane solution for the chronically homeless that costs far less than any other proposed solution. For less than 5k per person per year, many homeless people can be provided shelter, transportation, security and freedom of movement. These pods are ideal for disaster areas where transportation, electricity, accommodation and personal security are effected. These pods also provide an option for a more minimalist lifestyle for those not experiencing emergency or homeless issues, such as Young Urban Professionals looking to live cheaper, simpler, less resource intensive lives.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Every homeless person on skid row can get up and ride away to greener pastures. For small money the homeless will no longer be sleeping on sidewalks and doorways, parks and libraries. They will be able to independently travel to wherever their needed services are provided. City Planners can have fun luring homeless toward desired destinations without using coercion. New lifestyles are possible for people not tied to the land or grounded in one place. Being a nomad does not mean being homeless. Fewer people will need cars.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

At the age of 19, I became an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. I learned to love being able to carry everything I needed on my back. I never had a home, but I never felt homeless. In my 30's, I was a computer guru and was very successful. In my 40's something went wrong. I suffered a debilitating mental illness. I was unable to work. My life fell apart and I became homeless. I am now 59 and have been living on the street, the lowest level of homelessness. I do not want to even begin to describe the horrors, the debasement and devaluation I have endured. But I have seen, felt and lived what homelessness means. I know what we need. Transportation without a ticket taker, accommodation without a minder deciding our hours, a safe place to secure our meager possessions and the freedom to move away from bad neighbors.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Other

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Escape Pods for Humanity

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

I'm Homeless. Starbucks is closing.

Type of submitter

  • Other

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Los angeles


Join the conversation:

Photo of Uchenna Okafor

Dear Gary Frans! Indeed a one-stop shop solution for displaced persons around the world. Residential apartment, solar powered mobility devoid of fossil fuel, accessories for recharging portable electronic devices, and most importantly safety. But if i understood correctly, is the USD1,000 for yearly rental and not outright purchase? Nevertheless, a thousand applauds to this insightful concept.

Photo of Gary Frans

Dear Uchenna Okafor,
Thank you for the kind comments. I perhaps was unclear. There is no renting foreseen regarding basic model. These may be better thought of as an expendable resource - given away and maybe never seen again. Advanced, commercial models are another story, but basic ($1000) models are to be gifted to the homeless and displaced. I anticipate the vehicle will see harsh treatment given the targeted population. I project the average vehicle to be serviceable/usable for at least 1 year. That is how I arrived at the numbers $1000/person/year. In real life, giving the users ownership will actually extend vehicle life because owners take better care of their property than renters. Ownership is a key aspect that will help these people develop mentally, emotionally and financially.

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