LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Matlacha man is launching a unique idea to help the homeless in Haiti, while putting Southwest Florida back to work. The concept: building secure, transitional shelters that can be quickly assembled in times of need.
The shelters are made entirely from recycled wood and are assembled using only a hammer, making for an affordable and effective temporary home for Haitians still facing crisis more than a year after a deadly earthquake.
Frank Schooley is taking an idea once limited to furniture, to the next level....building shelters out of scraps.
"I've been working on it since the day of the earthquake. Somehow when that earthquake hit it really struck me, it really moved me. I kept thinking, what are those people going to do?" Schooley said.
His solution: a secure shelter, that's more durable than a tent. The temporary homes are quickly constructed. The particle board slabs are sliced to size in a matter of hours using a computer-controlled router at Schooley's Pine Island shop.
"Two people can cut this building in one day. So it can be stacked, palatized, shipped to Haiti, put up in four hours. Someone can move in and lock it up the first day," Schooley said Saturday.
The concept is catching the eye of Lee County leaders.
"These homes can be actually mass produced here in Lee County, putting people to work. So the opportunities are just boundless," Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah said.
Schooley agrees, hoping that one small shelter will offer hope for Haitians at a time of tragedy.
"You can put it up one time, and not worry about and work on what's going to happen in the future. Instead of having all this energy expended on just trying to stay alive," Schooley said.
Each of the shelters can be built for less than $6,000. Schooley's now taking the idea to local churches to purchase and send off to Haiti.