Nobody wants to face poverty. But poverty is one of the number one social problems facing our city today. Statistics show that the majority of homeless people living in Metro-Atlanta are single, unemployed, African American men between the ages of 36 and 45 years old. Some are suffering from mental illness, and others are involved with using alcohol and/or drugs. On any given night, approximately 7,000 of over 5 million people living in Atlanta are homeless and make their homes on the streets. Homeless people have trouble obtaining food, water, and shelter on a daily basis, and many of these people have been homeless less than a year. Shelters are often over-crowded and often homeless people are suspicious and concerned about their safety in shelters. So they are left to find shelter from the frigid winters temperatures and the scorching summer heat.
The Mad Housers is an organization focused on building shelters for under $500 around Atlanta for people below the poverty line living on the streets. The organization is 100% volunteer based, and receives money and resources through donations. The Mad Housers main clients are homeless men in the Metro Atlanta area. The organization focuses mainly on building shelters for single men rather than women and children because there are organizations in Atlanta who specialize in serving women and children.
The Mad Housers shelters are built in wooded areas, that are not easily noticeable, on both public and private property. If anyone that owns the land is uncomfortable with where the shelters are, or wants the shelter to be moved, Mad Houser's is respectful of their requests and will move the building location. The Mad Housers creates shelters that allow for the homeless to store their belongings, have a safe place to sleep, and protect themselves from bad weather, which is essential in the world today.
“Build Hope” is The Mad Housers slogan. It is basic, yet powerful and gets peoples’ attention. The slogan uses the words “Build” and “Hope” to illustrate The Mad Houser’s goals. They are literally building shelters for the homeless, but they are also building hope for the future for their clients. Having the opportunity to have a roof over their heads gives homeless clients the confidence to go out into the world, get a job to earn money to support themselves and eventually free themselves from poverty.
The Mad Housers is supported through the help of volunteers. If you think that building a hut sounds impossible, think again. People of all backgrounds and abilities can easily help. For example, one of the men who came to help us learn about the Mad Housers only had experience in working with computers, but after his first day of volunteering, he learned how easy it is to construct these houses and now he loves to build shelters to help the homeless.
Check out the Mad Houser website to become one.