Germany has taken an innovative approach to help those facing homelessness.
Sleep pods, called Ulmer Nests, were installed on the streets of Ulm, which is 75 miles west of Munich. They were also put in parks and other places where people tend to sleep. The wood and steel cabins can host two people and are heated as well as wind and waterproof. The pod even gets some of its energy from solar panels. Meanwhile, inside it is connected to a radio network that allows guests to make calls without a cellphone.
However, the pods aren’t intended as alternative housing but as an emergency shelter during dangerous weather. The Ulmer Nests launched on Jan. 8, 2020, as part of a pilot program to help the homeless. The city used a creative think tank of six entrepreneurs and technical experts to come up with the solution.
“We’ve even seen some effects that we didn’t dream of, like neighbors providing the overnight guests with hot tea in the morning and such,” Florian Geiselhart, an Ulmer Nest team member told Bored Panda. “Then there’s a lot of those small moments when working on the Nests out in the city, and people come up to say thank you, homeless and not homeless alike. That also means a lot actually.”
In Germany, there are roughly 860,000 people dealing with homelessness. Results of the pilot program are being reviewed to determine if the Ulmer Nest can prevent frostbite. If things go well, the pods could eventually be all over Germany.
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