Bay Area Proud

‘We're Going to End Suffering for a Whole Lot of People': Oakland Man Has Big Plans for His Small House Design

NBC Universal, Inc.

Dan Bodner thinks his small house has a big upside.

"We feel like we have a very good product that's going to reduce a lot of suffering," Bodner said.

Bodner is an Oakland IT consultant and the founder of QuickHaven, a company that is about to begin production of a transitional shelter, meant to provide temporary housing for those who need it.

Cities like Oakland have, in the past, purchased garden sheds to provide housing for some of the city's homeless population, but Bodner believes his design is superior in almost every way.

The shelter is constructed out of just a handful of pre-fabricated sections. Bodner says one can be assembled by three people in roughly 30 minutes using just a single tool and a pair of ladders. Once put together, the shelter provides 70 square feet of sturdy and secure living space. When not in use and disassembled, a dozen shelters can be stacked and stored in a single shipping container.

The cost of a QuickHaven transitional shelter is estimated to be roughly $11,000.

Best of all, Bodner says, his design is attractive. A village of his shelters would draw, he believes, less resistance from neighbors.

"It’s not going to look like a tent encampment," Bodner said. "It's not going to look like a refuge camp. It's going to look sharp and these things have a modern, stylish appearance."


This is not Bodner's first foray into helping others.

We first profiled Bodner seven years ago when he created inexpensive, 3D-printed prosthetic hands for children who needed them. Turns out, though, there was a flaw in his plan: the children didn't really want them.

"These kids are who they are. They were born that way. They get through the world that way and they don't really want a prosthetic hand," Bodner said.

Instead of being discouraged, though, Bodner says the experience did the opposite. He was encouraged by his ability to create something to help others.

He just needed a new target for his energies.

Bodner found it on his daily commute, passing the ever-growing homeless encampments in Oakland and San Francisco.

"Being a commuter every day for many years, it became a journey through suffering," Bodner said.

It wasn't until the day he came across the aftermath of a fire that killed a homeless person in one of the encampments that Bodner was spurred into action.

"I started thinking about what could I do, personally," Bodner said. "I'm just one person, but I can think of an idea. I can come up with something."

Bodner set his engineering mind to creating the QuickHaven shelter. With the help of architect Tim Craig and investors, Bodner believes they have come up with a design that will work.

Bodner says interest in the shelter has been great even before they've started production. He understands that homelessness is a big, complex problem. He just hopes his shelters end up being a piece of the solution.

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