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The First S2 Shelter Residents Share Their Stories 

March 6, 2024

To ensure our shelter design truly meets the needs of Pallet village residents, we spoke with some of the first people living in our new S2 units to gain feedback and insight from their experience. 

The core of Pallet’s mission is to provide safe, secure shelter for people who have experienced displacement and offer a healing environment that helps residents on their next steps toward permanent housing. In developing our innovative S2 product line, we incorporated crucial feedback from our own lived experience workforce and applied key principles of trauma-informed design, knowing that this input is an essential part of creating dignified and comfortable spaces for every Pallet village resident. 

Everett Gospel Mission (EGM), a village in our hometown, was the first site to receive 70-square-foot models of our S2 Sleeper shelters. We connected with four residents who had lived in the original shelter designs at EGM and now have moved to S2 units—Kenny, Jimi, Summer, and Erik—to hear their feedback on the new shelters and learn about their stories. 


Kenny has lived at EGM for nearly two years, originally moving to the site with his friend Libby after losing their housing. He had never experienced homelessness before or spent any time in congregate shelters. 

He says since moving to the S2 shelter, he’s noticed the thicker walls have improved insulation and heat retention, reduced condensation, and made the interior more soundproof—a helpful detail since he’s teaching himself to play guitar. 

“You don’t hear the rain as much: it’s quieter, way quieter,” Kenny said. “I can be a little louder in the brand new one compared to the old one, because I like to turn the amp up real loud, you know, and play the guitar and stuff. It stays warm in there a lot longer too I’ve noticed. Yeah, it’s overall better.” 

Kenny gets along with everyone else living at EGM and doesn’t find it hard to make friends with others in the village. He noted how he likes the residential windows in the S2 unit: him and his neighbor will both open them up and talk from the comfort of their own space. 

“It’s kind of cool, because the bed’s right there, so I just open the window and I can talk to the neighbor, and he’ll open his,” he told us. “He bet me four bucks that they would touch if we opened them.” 

Kenny easily won that bet. 


Coming to live at EGM after being hit by a car while crossing the street, Jimi is using his time in the village to focus on sorting out medical issues and navigating a settlement in the case of a broken lease agreement. Sporting a leather jacket and a slick pair of yellow Chuck Taylor’s, he told us he’s grateful to have a temporary space after a tumultuous period of having nowhere to stay and limited means to transport his belongings to a storage space. 

“It helps me not have to feel rushed,” Jimi said. “I got a pretty good head injury when I got hit. I don’t remember like I used to. I used to be able to multitask, but now I have to concentrate on one thing. So, being here gives me a chance to plan things, do one thing at a time.” 

Jimi mentioned the new unit offers a calmer environment because it’s quieter. 

“The thickness of the walls really makes a difference as far as noise,” he said. 

Being able to store and arrange his belongings neatly with the integrated shelving is also a plus. 

“[There is] a good place to hang your clothes,” Jimi said. “They have little shelves and a place to put hangers and stuff. That’s a lot better. Feels like you can organize your stuff a little easier.” 


Experiencing homelessness for four years before moving into EGM, Summer has been a resident of the village since it opened. She finds comfort in decorating and caring for her plants and flowers, a hobby she picked up since moving into the community. She even arranged planters in communal areas in addition to the inside and outside of her own shelter. 

“I did all the flowers that are out here and all the gardening and stuff,” Summer said. “I was doing it for myself already and they said, ‘Hey, let’s put in more for everybody,’ so I just ended up doing all of it.” 

Summer told us she likes the ability to customize her shelter and make it her own. She’s added extra storage cubes and shelves, as well as hung mobiles she’s made from the ceiling. A mirror, a TV, and, of course, more plants make Summer’s shelter feel cozier and more unique. 

“Everybody always is like, ‘Oh my god, your house looks so much different than everybody else’s!’” 

She noted the size of the windows, larger bed, and improved heat circulation are notable details that make the S2 unit comfortable. 

Overall, Summer said her favorite part of living at EGM is the ability to feel settled and have a space of her own. 

“I could sit, you know, and actually stay and decorate it,” she explained. “I can feel comfortable and actually move in and not have to worry about police making me leave or having to drag everything with me. I have a place I can go in and sit down and have room for company and a TV.” 


Erik has only lived at EGM for four months, spending the first two in the original shelter design before moving into the newer model. He said the increased square footage in the S2 unit is a significant improvement in maneuvering his wheelchair, and the larger bed is a better fit for him. 

“I can move around a lot better in a wheelchair,” he told us. “To be able to sit in it and turn around makes a huge difference. And the bed is a little bit wider, so I sleep a lot better. It’s lower too, because I was tending to sit up against the bed in the older one. Those made my legs fall asleep and cut my circulation off. With the new style bed, that’s totally better: I can sit up on the edge of the bed and my legs won’t fall asleep.” 

He also said the tighter seals on the corner connections and improved insulation from the wall panels helps keep the heat in. 

“Having it hold the heat is a big difference too because it makes you feel like you’re in a better structure, since it’s not leaking out the seams.” 

When Erik was hospitalized due to heart failure, he lost his housing, his car was impounded, and he found himself living on the streets. This was after working his whole career in the construction industry: first building houses, and then operating his own concrete company. He said it was a shock to exit the hospital and lose so much, along with experiencing displacement for the first time in his life. 

Even with this devastating loss and coping with his medical issues, he is appreciative to be part of the community at EGM and have his own shelter. 

“I think it’s great and it’s a great program, it’s a great thing [Pallet] is doing making those and making them available for communities to put them in and help people out,” he said. “Because I definitely need help. So it’s a beautiful thing what you guys are doing, because when people need help, you’re part of the solution.” 

To learn more about how the design of our S2 shelters was informed by those with lived experience, read our blog. 

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