I have designed a bed for homeless people that is simply made out of card and that makes a significant difference to the difficulty of sleeping rough.
It is inspired by cardboard furniture that I have seen by various people and relies on interlocking pieces for its stability. This is the third version which has been tested and is found to work well. It measures 192 x 60 x 18cm (6ft 3in long).
Homeless people describe how sleeping on the ground is so cold that it goes through their bones and makes their joints hurt so it is very difficult to sleep like this. This bed raises them off the ground, doesn’t conduct temperature from other sources and is softer than the concrete.
I designed it so that it can be disassembled into parts that are small enough to carry around during the day and that is simple enough to put together in less than 5 minutes.
The upper section is made from 4 pieces which slot into the 3 pieces of the base so that it overlaps and stays together. There are 4 more base supports and these right angles provide stability for the bed, which, as long as it is kept dry could last for months.
It is important to get properly strong cardboard as it has been found to weaken due to re-assembly and dis-assembly. We can get rigid 2-ply card from bike shops with no problem so try asking at one near you. It’s important to carefully assemble and disassemble it to prevent the card bending and needing to be replaced.
The full instructions for how it is made can be found on this Instructables page.
You can also download the pdf of the instructions here.
There are two ways that it can be kept dry: firstly, if the user can find a covered area to make the bed under or if not, they can find large plastic sheets/ bags from shop bins that were used for large items they’ve had delivered.
If a thick plastic bag can be found that the parts can all fit into, that would be ideal and it can be secured with a long piece of string that is wrapped around in a way that it also forms the handle by which it can be carried.
This shows how strong it is and that it actually does work but please watch the video below which goes through the assembly and also has interviews with a homeless couple who tested it and found that it makes a huge difference.
Here is a simple assembly instructions sheet that you can print out to use and give to the people who need to use the beds.