Carpenter Builds Mobile, Insulated Shelters To Help Homeless Through Winter

by : Julia Banim on :
Carpenter Builds Mobile, Insulated Shelters To Help Homeless Through WinterCBC

A kind-hearted carpenter from Toronto is building mobile shelters to help homeless individuals survive during the cold winter ahead.

The shelters in question are durable and insulated, lined with the sort of thick, fibreglass layer you would usually see in residential construction, and are designed to be ‘mainly heated by body heat’.


Khaleel Seivwright, 28, began building the mini-homes in his spare time in September, responding to an escalating homelessness crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

mini houseKhaleel Seivwright/gofundme

Canada’s homeless population has suffered further hardship over the course of the pandemic, with shelters having reduced the number of beds they can offer in adherence with social distancing measures.

Various Canadian cities, including Toronto, have seen homeless encampments emerge in parks, with those without anywhere else to go left desperately trying to find safe places to sleep.


Furthermore, earlier this year, the Toronto Foundation warned that the virus could lead to ‘unprecedented levels of homelessness’ in the city, with up to 260,000 residents having missed a rent payment in April.

The situation is expected to worsen this winter, with even more people anticipated to be living outdoors.

Carpenter Builds Mobile, Insulated, Shelters To Help Homeless Through WinterCBC News

Speaking with CBC News, Khaleel explained that his mini-homes, which haven’t yet been approved by the city, are by no means ‘a permanent solution’, but hopes that they will prevent ‘at least some people’ from dying of cold this winter.


Writing on his GoFundMe page – which, at the time of writing, has raised more than $72,000 – Khaleel said:

I’m excited to do this because I know it can work, I love designing and building different interesting ideas and I know it might help atleast a few people get through this winter who might not and others in the future as well.

As shelters are usually at capacity at some point in the winter in Toronto and also because of this coronavirus, making space to allow for social distancing will put even more strain on Toronto’s capacity.

For some its more difficult to find a shelter that can accommodate them and their pets or belongings and others refuse to be in shelters for other reasons. I am building these shelters for those that will live outside this winter.

Toronto carpenterCBC

According to Khaleel, the size and the insulation value of the walls, ceiling and floor means that body heat alone should be sufficient to keep the shelter at ‘around 16°C in -20 temperatures’.


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However, this factor will reportedly also depend on the ‘quality of construction’. Khaleel is funding his project through generous donations on his GoFundMe page, which has well exceeded his original target sum of $20,000.

As well as money, Khaleel is also accepting donations in the form of building materials such as door hinges and latches, tuck tape, siding materials and roofing materials. The shelters reportedly take him around eight hours to build, and cost around $1,000 each.

So far, Khaleel has reportedly dropped off two of his innovative shelters in out-of-the-way locations around Toronto, and will be sharing updates as he continues with his good work.

You can donate to Khaleel’s fundraising page here.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, Canada, Coronavirus, Toronto


GoFundMe and 2 others
  1. GoFundMe

    Toronto Tiny Shelters

  2. CBC News

    Meet the Toronto carpenter building insulated, mobile shelters for homeless people this winter

  3. Toronto Foundation