Life
Man builds a tiny home for homeless woman sleeping outside his house
This man is really going the extra mile to help others.
Kirsten Spruch
05.18.20

Irene “Smokie” McGee was a familiar face in the South Los Angeles neighborhood.

Everyone knew who she was — they knew her name, said hello to her, and were very kind overall.

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But a man by the name of Elvis Summers noticed that once nightfall came, people seemed to suddenly no longer care about the woman’s wellbeing.

McGee was a homeless 60-year-old woman and Summers knew that (he met her one day when she knocked on his door asking for recyclables to cash in for money), but he was under the impression that she would at least have a box to sleep in at night.

You know, any kind of protection. Turns out she did not. She had been sleeping in the dirt every single night.

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This broke Summers’ heart — he realized she was never able to get a good night’s rest, let alone some very basic protection. Something in him felt compelled to fix this and make a change.

He couldn’t let it continue.

“I started asking more questions about her to see what her story was,” Summers told ABC News. “I learned she didn’t have anything, not even a cardboard box. She was literally sleeping in the dirt and I just wanted to make her a place where she could feel comfortable and at least get a good night’s sleep.

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“So, I asked her ‘what would you think if I built you a mini house’ and I think she thought I was crazy.

I saw online that people were building these tiny homes. I had done construction before, so figured that’s easy — I could do that.”

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“We are all human,” Summers said. “It could be somebody’s sister, grandmother, or somebody’s kids out there. She was very grateful. She’s very sweet and she said ‘no one’s ever done anything for me.’ When I first met her, until now, she looks like a different person. She seems legitimately happy now.”

As long as the mini home was moved to a different spot every 72 hours, the city supported it.

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So when he made this realization, he noticed that people all over the country were building tiny homes.

Luckily, he had construction experience so he decided to give it a go and make a tiny home just for McGee to live in.

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He went to his local home improvement store and spent about $500 on the supplies he needed to build the thing.

t was only five days later that he had a finished product to show the woman.

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Sadly, in November 2016, McGee passed away. However, this sweet gesture and her warm spirit will remain.

We will never forget how in just a few short days, Summers managed to change the woman’s life forever.

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The best part is that this small project flourished into something much bigger.

Since helping McGee, Summers had crowdsourced over $50k for his organization Starting Human, where he planned to continue building mini homes for the homeless.

Summers is clearly a very selfless and extraordinary man!

Watch the incredible story below!

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By Kirsten Spruch
hi@sbly.com
Kirsten Spruch is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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