NEWS: Housing Matters Installs Ten Pallet Shelter Units on Its Coral Street Campus

The single-occupancy structures provide short-term and long-term solutions for people experiencing homelessness

See the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel here >

Housing Matters announced today that they recently purchased ten shelters from Washington State-based company Pallet, to expand distancing between residents of the Paul Lee Loft — one of Housing Matters’ four shelters.

Pallet shelters are durable, portable, free-standing shelters, with designs to sleep from one to six individuals. The ten units were delivered and set up on April 14.

Housing Matters has considered a solution like Pallet shelters for potential future shelter capacity expansion. The coronavirus crisis provided an opportunity to pilot these structures.

“We needed to expand shelter bed spacing quickly for COVID-19 relief efforts. Our first step was to quickly erect tents on campus,” said Phil Kramer, Housing Matters Executive Director. “But we wanted to supplement with something that also served the long-term shelter needs of people experiencing homelessness, while they looked for permanent housing.”

Kramer went on to explain that Housing Matters wanted to find a win-win that served short-term purposes, while potentially allowing the organization to expand shelter capacity before a permanent facility is built out — a plan that may take months or years.

“Pallet shelters are a great solution,” said Tom Stagg, Housing Matters Director of Programs. “They’re durable, affordable, and comfortable. And they’ll be of use even once this crisis is behind us.”

The ten Pallet shelters that arrived this week are 64 square feet each, and will replace ten of the 20 single-occupancy tents set up for social distancing residents of the Paul Lee Loft. Each structure will shelter one person. Kramer said Housing Matters also purchased four additional beds, should there be a household of two people who want to shelter together.

The Pallet shelters have lockable doors, outlets for chargers, heating, windows and beds.

Pallet shelters do not have their own bathrooms or kitchenettes; in that way, the client’s experience is similar to living in the Paul Lee Loft. According to their website, Pallet specifically designs their shelters without bathrooms so they are more affordable and easily deployable, and they’re intended to be used by organizations like Housing Matters, who have restroom and dining infrastructure available for shelter residents.

“This is going to be a game changer for Housing Matters and our clients in terms of agility,” said Evan Morrison, Program Manager of the Paul Lee Loft. “It’s simple infrastructure that will allow us to add capacity in the future, once we have the programmatic resources in place.”

Morrison added that Pallet shelters also may be an excellent shelter solution for individuals and/or couples who may not thrive in a more traditional dormitory-style shelter environment.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but traditional shelters can be more of a hindrance than helpful for some people experiencing homelessness,” said Morrison. “I’m really excited about the possibilities these shelter structures will open up for Housing Matters and all the clients we serve.”