Our vision…digital fabrication, disaster relief, and local enterprise.
There are always people willing to give to those in need during times of tragedy. It’s the way things have always worked with “charity”…someone gives so that someone else can benefit. Shelter 2.0 started out as one of those kinds of givers, thinking that the best way we could help was to give homes to people that had lost theirs. We’re not saying that that’s wrong…that people shouldn’t help others. The more we thought about our particular way of giving, though, the more we realized that making and giving away Shelters may not be the best way for us to help in the long run.
- Our “secret sauce” is that we’re digital. Unlike giving food or medicine that are dictated by location…they require a farm or factory…our Shelter design is digital and can be transferred via internet, email, or mailed on a CD and fabricated anywhere. It’s much easier to export the idea and patterns…the digital files and instructions…than it is to ship the finished product.
- Giving away stuff is hard, both for the giver and the receiver. In order to sustain it over the long run the givers are always in fundraising mode and trying to get enough donations for the next shipment and receiving something as charity minimizes your connection to the thing…you rarely have an attachment to it on a personal level.
- The recipients could get more bang from our bucks! When we cut our shelters and ship them somewhere, the money for materials and labor stays in the US, the costs of transport stays in the US, and the skills stay in the US. If these shelters were cut on site as a locally owned business the recipients would reap the benefits.
- The gift that keeps on giving. At the start, Shelters would be the primary product…everyone needs a roof over their heads…but the digital technology that fabricates the Shelters can be used just as easily to make furniture, signs, boats. or a myriad of other products.
So what do we think should happen? Here’s our vision in a nutshell.
- Set up a fabrication facility, using CNC tools to fabricate Shelters, and train the owners and employees.
- Partner with a group with knowledge of microfinance to setup a system for home ownership, so that people would be buying their own homes. This would make the system sustainable, with money constantly coming in to support growth.
- Partner with designers to help local fabricators develop products to sell in addition to Shelters.
- Develop a donation system so that people that wanted to just give could help someone pay their mortgage or build their business, rather than just a handout