Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

California man Elvis Summers builds tiny home on wheels for homeless grandmother Irene 'Smokie' McGee

Published 05/05/2015

California man Elvis Summers has come to the aid of a homeless woman in his neighbourhood by building her a miniature home on wheels.

Summers, 38, said he was compelled to help Irene 'Smokie' McGee, who had been living on the streets for over a decade, after discovering she was literally sleeping on the pavement without so much as a cardboard box underneath her.

The 60-year-old lost her husband in 2004 and was unable to afford the house they shared together in Los Angeles.

Summers said he struck up a friendship with Ms McGee after she started asking for his recyclable waste so she could exchange it for cash.

"I started asking more questions about her to see what her story was," he told ABC News. “She was literally sleeping in the dirt and I just wanted to make her a place where she could feel comfortable and at least get a good night's sleep.

"So, I asked her 'what would you think if I built you a mini house' and I think she thought I was crazy. I saw online that people were building these tiny homes. I had done construction before, so figured that’s easy - I could do that."

Summers spent five days building a home out of donated materials and $500 (£330) worth of wood.

The home has also been approved by authorities in LA on the provision that it is moved every 72 hours.

He has now the launched the Tiny House Huge Purpose fundraising campaign in order to build miniature houses for other homeless people in the US. His viral campaign also attracted the attention of a local church, who have offered him a 10,000 ft square lot next to it where the homes could be parked.

He said: “The people of the church are willing to help with showers, food and clothing to help all the people in the tiny homes we put there to climb back up.”

Ms McGee said she felt "marvellous" after receiving the keys to the property. "You can't even explain how I feel. I'm on my way to a different life. I want to get my own place and all of that. He's my guardian angel."

Irene McGee receives the keys to her home from Elvis Summers
Irene McGee receives the keys to her home from Elvis Summers

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph