Student creates portable houses for homeless

Student creates portable houses for homeless


by Katherine Cook

Bio | Email | Follow: @KCookKGW

Posted on April 6, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 7 at 5:56 PM

PORTLAND - Part camper, part sleeping bag with a hint of food cart flare. The "Bootstrap home" could be described as many things, except for one, if you ask designer Sarah Cloutier.

Cloutier is a senior at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She said the idea of the small mailbox-shaped camper with a sink, stove, storage and sleeping space, was inspired by her desire to help the homeless.

"This is definitely not just my senior project," she said. "If you help people in a real way, you put that good out into the world and it increases."

Cloutier's hand-drawn designs were akin to the story boards she hopes to create for a living when she graduates.

The Bootstrap home prototype took Cloutier six weeks and $300 to build and has many on campus buzzing.

"It makes me really excited that art has a function in society and that we're helping people through art," said Dean of Student Services, Michael Hall.

"I think it's awesome and I think Sarah's doing a great job," added PNCA student, Avery Gilbert.

Gilbert is a music major with an open mind and now, a place to lay his head at night, thanks to Cloutier.

"She provided me with this mobile home to live in and it really made my experience easier," said Gilbert, who plans to one day pass the Bootstrap home to someone else who needs it.

"I'm really happy (Gilbert) was able to join the project in the way he has," said Cloutier.

Cloutier said her goals are getting businesses to sponsor the Bootstrap homes, inspiring others to build them and making kits available at local hardware stores.

"Just making sure this idea gets out to a wider world and telling people that can do this on their own," she said.

For now, it's back to the drawing board for Cloutier.

"This one I plan to put a bicycle hitch on it," said Cloutier, of her latest Bootstrap home creation.

Call it art, improving life.

"I really appreciate what (Cloutier) is doing," said Gilbert. I hope she goes far. I know she is going far."