Sleep pod solution to combat homelessness

A Launceston woman thinks she has found an innovative solution to the housing crisis: sleeping pods.

Kirsten Ritchie, founder of Strike It Out Inc, Feeding the Homeless Launceston, couldn’t believe her luck when an ad for 40 capsule sleeping pods popped up on Gumtree.

The seller of the beds is the capsule accommodation business the Pod Inn, who are upgrading their pods.

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The Pod Inn said it is holding the pods for Ms Ritchie until she can raise the $60,000 asking price.

“We need to set something up urgently,” Ms Ritchie said. “Because it’s just not fair.”

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“We need people in a crisis situation to have a bed straight away, because the price of a rental is just not affordable, and people have to wait years to try and get a public housing house.

“Another winter is here. It’s so cold, and it really breaks your heart that we are leaving people outdoors in this weather.”

The pods would also make Strike It Out less reliant on donations. The idea would be that they would set the pods up on an existing piece of property, that Ms Ritchie said she is in negotiations with now.

“We have something in mind, but we just have to wait because it depends if they’re going to sell [the property] or if they’ll put a lease on it,” she said. “We obviously have to work with the council as well.”

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They would charge an affordable rate relative to the Centrelink benefit of $440 a fortnight, which is less than almost all private rentals, and less than a week’s stay at a backpacker’s hostel.

However, no one would be turned away no matter how much money they have – with one exception.

“We’re going to have to be really strict, unfortunately, and we will not be able to accommodate people with addictions – people on ice,” Ms Ritchie said.

“We’re not professionals and we can’t offer them that kind of support.”

The pods are portable and easy to clean. Each one comes with a phone charger, a locker accessed with a swipe card, and a clip-down blind for privacy.

Donations can be made at the Gofundme page ‘Sleeping pods for the homeless in Tasmania’, or by messaging the Launceston feeding the homeless Facebook page for alternative methods.

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