The EDAR is like a miniature pop-up camper designed as a portable shelter for homeless people. Hollywood movie producer Peter Samuelson (Revenge of the Nerds) came up with the idea and sponsored a prototype contest at the Art Center College of Design. Eric Lindeman and Jason Zasa won with a shopping cart-inspired version. Now, the non-profit EDAR Foundation is starting to distribute the shelters in the Los Angeles area and looking for donations to manufacture more of them. From the Los Angeles Times:
With a donation from former EBay President Jeff Skoll, he took the design to Precision Wire Products, a manufacturer of shopping carts in Commerce. Precision produced a succession of prototypes, at least nine, to address critiques of the device: too big, too small, too flimsy, not readily collapsible. The units have been thrown down flights of stairs (they're sturdy) and left in the rain (they don't leak).
Three months ago, Samuelson decided to distribute 60 EDARs for testing. With the help of churches, missions and shelters, he and his assistants identified chronically homeless people who could benefit from an EDAR in the short term and might be willing to develop a lasting relationship with service providers…
Does the EDAR enable homelessness by making it more bearable? No, he insists.
"Why is the EDAR not regressive?" he said. "Because it is not nearly as good as a shelter bed. There's no pretense it's as good as permanent or temporary brick-and-mortar housing." But it is, he says, "infinitely better than a damp cardboard box."