CAMAS, Wash. — A Camas entrepreneur is taking the idea of an emergency kit to a whole new level.
Normally when you think of emergency kits, a backpack full of water, food, and supplies might come to mind. But this kit includes an actual home.
They're called "Dwellings of Hope."
They are the creation of Camas entrepreneur Steve Hix. Hix came up with the idea after seeing disturbing news stories of Syrian refugees fleeing their homes and being forced to live in unsafe and unsanitary camps.
So Hix set out to design and build a shelter the refugees could first get and then use. Each shelter is fully insulated, has a bunk bed, potty and a sink that pumps fresh water from a five-gallon jug.
But what makes these shelters so unusual is that they can be put together and broken down over and over again and shipped all over the world.
“It’s simple wood construction, four feet wide and eight feet high,” he said. “When you go to put it together it’s all nuts and bolts.”
The shelters can also be expanded to become as big as needed.
Hix envisions the shelters being used not only in refugee camps but also as emergency shelters following disasters like fires, floods, or earthquakes.
"You could put these on back of pickup truck, haul it in, set it up in about 4 hours," said Hix. "Now they have a full home to live in while they redo their house."
Hix said each shelter kit costs less than $7,000.
He is currently looking for some funding for the project and has already met with folks from Portland State University.
He's also been in talks with HUD about the possibility of using these shelters as medical facilities overseas.