Currently in the United States, there are a quarter million people living shelter less. With these numbers expected to rise due to the increased frequency in climate related catastrophes that continue to displace thousands of Americans annually, a solution to this growing humanitarian crisis is becoming more necessary.
Amy Farah Weiss addresses this growing issue in her talk on how hemp can play a role in the creation of emergency shelters to aid in the fight against homelessness. Weiss, of Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge along with the help of Arnie Valdez and Rezolana Farms were able to create a hemp based sleeper cabin that complies with California building codes that were created in 2018. The first phase of these cabins was able to sleep a family of four comfortably with the hemp wool insulation working throughout all seasons. This inspired the pair, along with their numerous partners, to pursue a second phase model of these sleeper cabins.
With a goal in mind, the duo created a model made of wood and hemp based materials that was able to meet a multitude of goals. Like the first phase, these new cabins would have to meet California code compliance, meaning they must have 70 square feet of floor space, 80 inches of height, power for lights, ventilation, and contain both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The cabins also must have mobility, so Valdez along with his team at Rezolana farms rigged trailers to enable transportation and multiple trips per trailer. Hemp wool was a key factor in the insulation of these cabins as it boasts a similar R-value to fiberglass batts. The model cabin that was created was also outfitted with a Go Power! solar power system, meaning all electricity powering the cabins is completely green and reusable. The cabins are also equipped with gutters for water collection and a propane stove and would take a crew of three about three to four weeks to finish constructing and have an open source design as a way to incentivize communities across the nation to create similar cabins to combat this rapidly growing crisis.