Build a Pallet shelter village in three steps
August 20, 2021
Pallet shelter villages provide unhoused people the dignity and security of private units, with access to a resource net of onsite social services.
People who live in Pallet’s nearly 40 shelter villages across the country are on their way to creating a stable life. These shelter villages addressing homelessness were built by Pallet in collaboration with cities, counties and nonprofits. Each village is unique and a reflection of the larger community. These villages all have two things in common: a commitment to provide the dignity and security of private units within a community, and provide a resource net of onsite social services, food, showers, laundry, and more to help people transition into permanent housing. Our villages allow partners to stay together, pets are welcome, and people can bring their possessions with them.
Here’s a high level overview of what’s needed to create a Pallet shelter village.
1. Pallet Shelters
The foundation of every village is shelter. Each of the panels of our shelter is fiberglass reinforced plastic with a foam insulating core, aluminum framed, and can be constructed in under an hour. We offer two sizes: 64 sq. ft. and 100 sq. ft.
Both shelter sizes are designed to be priced at significant savings compared to traditional construction, which helps to maximize the number of people who can be offered shelter. Similarly, budget saved on shelter can be reinvested into on-site, wraparound services for the shelter village’s residents, a critical piece of their pathway to stability.
- Locking door
- Secure ventilation system with openable ridge cap
- Structural floor with aluminum framing that can be placed on any surface
- 10+ year material lifespan
- Interchangeable bed/desk options
- Built with easy-to-clean and -sanitize materials
- Resistant to mold, mildew, rot, pests, and bed bugs
- 110 MPH wind rating
- 25lb per square foot snow load rating
- Egress door
- Fire extinguisher, smoke and CO detector
*Allows for flexibility and shelter customization to meet both the needs of the climate and occupancy load
- Air conditioner
- 120 volt electrical kit with 1500 watt heater
- Cold weather upgrade package with 240 volt electrical connection
- Folding bunk bed or desk
- Custom fit mattress pad
2. Build infrastructure
Pallet shelter villages can be built on any surface, from a grassy field to a vacant lot. Most importantly, it should be a relatively level surface with enough space for the shelters. Some villages, such as Skagit First Step Center in Burlington, WA, have placed Pallet shelters on concrete pads. Each site needs access driveways for emergency services.
Proximity to essential services such as public transportation, social services, employment opportunities, grocery stores, hospitals and primary care is best.
There are a number of options to bring electricity to a site.
- Electrical trenching
- Electrical tap
- Municipal grid
- Solar which is currently in use at Casitas de Esperanza, or “Homes of Hope,” in San Jose. They use a BoxPower microgrid which uses solar panels, batteries, and a generator.
- Hand washing stations
- Potable water for drinking
- Bathroom options include port-a-potties, bathroom/shower trailers, or Pallet hygiene facilities
- Sewer and water stubs for bathroom/laundry
3. Select a service provider
Providing onsite social services is crucial to the success of Pallet shelter villages. An organization already assisting people experiencing homelessness is equipped to handle their distinctive needs. They must create a safe environment where people can stabilize and heal, because living unhoused is a traumatic experience.
Resources for residents:
- On-site offices
- Case management
- Street outreach
- Jobs preparation
- Health screening and medical care
- Housing navigators
Whether community leaders choose to build a Pallet shelter village or another alternative to address the growing homelessness crisis, the cost of doing nothing is steep. Our unhoused neighbors deserve compassion, dignity, and a secure place to rebuild their lives.
If you’re interested in building a Pallet shelter village contact our team
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Pallet 2022 Impact Report
In 2022, we expanded our footprint and worked with service providers to provide dignified shelter for thousands of people experiencing homelessness.