Hawaii to fight homelessness by renovating old city buses

The buses run smoothly, but are being stored only because they have racked up too many miles, KITV reported.
The buses run smoothly, but are being stored only because they have racked up too many miles, KITV reported.

This past winter, Boston struggled to accommodate its homeless population. Maybe the city could take an idea from Hawaii, where old city buses are going to be converted into homeless shelters.

Hawaii has one of the worst homeless rates in the country. In a 2014 “State of Homelessness in America’’ report, Hawaii ranked highest among the 50 states for homeless people per capita with 45.1 percent; the national rate was 19.3 percent.

Architecture firm Group 70 International is trying to alleviate that. The company aims to convert up to 70 retired buses into homeless shelters with the help of volunteers, who will strip and renovate the bus interiors with donated material.

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The design “is based on the premise that you could walk in to a hardware store, buy everything you need in one go and build everything with no trade skills,’’ May Ry Kim of Group 70 International told Hawaii News Now.

The buses will operate as a “mobile fleet.’’ Units will be living spaces, showers, or recreation rooms. Kim is hoping to convert the first two busses this summer, according to Hawaii News Now.

Woes of the 2015 winter in pictures

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