A Woman Named Fred


There is a woman, named Fred, who is currently living homeless in the Hamilton community. I don’t know what brought her to this, or why she has decided that it is safer here than in a shelter, but I thought, lets help her. I also thought, there are others who would feel the same.


As you all know, I have some expertise in the tiny houses, so I went out to the building supply places in the community and did the math. A little bit of money and some elbow grease and we could build her a 4×8 shelter with a door and a lock.   I know this is not ideal, by any means, but it is a HUGE improvement over the ten pallets that she has leaned together.

I stopped to speak to her today, and ask her if she would want a tiny house.  She said that she would love that.  Then I think it was too much for her to hope for and she said that there are a lot of people who are full of shit like me.  I guess she has earned the right to be suspicious. I think it is rough for people who don’t have a safe home.

So, I think we should just simply build her one.

Here is the list of NEEDS (tax roughly figured in):

36 2×4’s is about $100.

18 sheets of thin plywood for the inside and outside is about $400,

1 thick sheet of plywood for the floor is about $50.

A keyed entry is about $20.

A 1×4 sheet of steel for the roof is about $50.

A door with a window that opens is about $250 (unless someone has one).

2 bags of insulation are around $100

Plastic vapor barrier is around $30

4 pieces trim for the door (to keep out wind and pests) is about $25.

Unused exterior paint can be picked up from the dump free

Screws, nails, staples about $30

2 pressure treated 4×4 x 10 rails to raise the structure off the ground $30


I think I am pretty spot on with these figures since I went to Rona, Home Depot and Lowes and got the lowest prices.  So what I figure is that $1085. would build her a tiny insulated shelter with a locked door.



There are other things that would make this structure more comfortable and livable.

They are light, heat and a bed that can double as a seating area.

A decent solar powered LED shed light about $100

Roughly $650 would buy her a vented propane heater, vent, a propane tank and fuel.

We can build a bed for about $30 and a mattress is about $100.

A shelf, a few hooks, a butane cooker and some canisters about $100

So an additional $980 would get other things that would make her life more comfortable.


This would be a good hard day of work for a 4 or five people. Many hands make light work. People with cordless tools would be most appropriate but you don’t need to have these to be helpful.  I am hoping that the funds can be collected and I can find volunteers for the 19th and 20th of December.

Since there are always things that are forgotten and other things come up when you are building, I think that collecting $2K is the goal

The thing is, that even if I can’t get many people to chip in, I will still go ahead and do what I can with the money that I collect.  Lets make this happen!

What I am hoping for is something similar to this, but with a flat roof.


Here is the link for this crowd-funded project.



Those who are already following the tiny house movement – that have been wanting to attend a tiny house workshop, here is your chance.  It would be nice if you threw $100 toward this cause, if you can attend on the 19th and or 20th of December.  This is a lot cheaper than a tiny house workshop, I am not selling anything and you will learn some hands on skills.  I am going to frame this up this weekend because I have already collected enough to get this started, so if you want to give a hand then, it would be awesome!












Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “A Woman Named Fred

  1. Mark

    how can I help? you need to contact me with details

    • Hi Mark, we are nearly done with the build, just the roof and heat and a few small jobs now. We will do the roof on Tuesday and we will be putting in heat when we have collected the money that we need to make this happen. If you have Tuesday off and you have roofing skills, or helping with the heat by making a donation here.
      Kind regards, Laura

  2. Karen

    let me know when and where and I’ll be there.

    • Hi Karen! I hope you have seen the MOST RECENT post on this. We are meeting today at 9:15 SHARP at the new Tim Horton’s on Barton (between Wellington and Ferguson) and will be heading to my house to frame the panels. I am hoping that we can do this in one day – but not really sure… will update. We will put the panels together on site next Saturday (and Sunday if needed). I hope you will be able to join us today!

  3. Heike

    Live in the Windsor area but I admire your generosity. Hope that my small donation helps.

  4. livelovelaugh1961

    I would like to donate $20 for the purchase of a lock.

  5. Paula Fernandes

    Hi Laura I have Ben following you for a wile on your building your tiny home it is amazing . Laura god bless you my dear did you say that this was in Hamilton I can get there if this is on a Sunday I have a bother or to that I can ask. For help they are in construction they know how to build and can put in roads so if you can send me on where about you well be we can come up to help you and we well make a donation well you not find it hard to put this some were they do not let anyone live in tiny home any were well if you found a place for this lady to well good for you Laura you are so kind my dear we need more hart like you in this world I give peace happiness and may life be kind to you always. Can you post here this is happening. And we well try to bring some of the things we may need just let me know thank you your truly Paula.

    • Hi Paula, I am going to frame them this weekend. And hope to put it all together on site next weekend. Saturday if the weather cooperates.

      I will post about where we will meet on THO.

      • Paula Fernandes

        Hi sorry I had to go for a wile sorry I’m back I had said I can come on Sunday but it was Saturday but I hope I feel better this week end coming I had the flu and still feel under the weather but next week end I know I well feel grate so please lit me know and I well be there with help and money to help I well look at the site you post ok thank you .

    • Hi Paula, I wonder if your family has a truck. I could use some help today with getting materials.

  6. Hi Laura–great idea. My wife, Sheryl and I live in Hamilton and we would love to donate $100 and help out. Not sure what we can do but we take direction well. I don’t use pay pal but would be glad to drop you off the cash this weekend. We also have lots of wood that can be used for trim-you are welcome to it. Please feel free to e-mail me with details and I will get the cash to you ASAP.

  7. That’s great Laura! Unfortunately i cannot come at that date, but will contribute .
    I’ve built over a dozen such similar sheds, but none yet insulated…. Working on such designs for the smaller bunkies in our hopefully-future community. Since i can’t see enough of your drawings /parts list , not wishing to second-guess your design …. may i suggest a full sheet of 1″ or 1-1/2″ hi-density foamboard directly on top of the floor joists, then vapor barrier directly under the screwed-down (3″ deckscrews) plywood floor sheet. leaving the vapor barrier edges hanging out at least 8″ for folding under the 2×4 wall/floor plate and up again over the walls’ vapour barrier. You may know all this already…. 🙂

    This will give a significant thermal break and less floor heat loss, especially if the spaces between joists are also filled with HDF, and a sheet of galvanized on the bottom with galv. roofing nails, to ensure no critters can get started. Then attach the 4×4 runners over that with counter-bored screws up into the joists and rim before flipping it over to cover the edges with the walls’ sheathing.

    I usually hold the sheathing up 1/2″ from the bottom of the rimjoist perimeter, and use a double-row of staggered screws thru the sheathing into the rim to maximize racking strength.

    Also, if you’re going flat/flush with the roof steel, and no overhang, t’s wise to use 90-degree metal flashing/flanges, or “drip-edge” under all the sheet-edges with hi-quality caulking under the dripedges and between them and the metal sheet . …screwing down only the edges with washered roofing screws…starting from the centre of the long-sides’ edges towards one end with another person working parallel on the opposite side, in the same direction.Then repeat from the centre again in the other direction. To minimize buckling potential, it’s helpful to lay a straight , weighted plank down the middle of the sheet while screwing.

    You get more racking resistance by putting the door in the middle, although you can compensate with strategic angled 2×4’s inside …smaller/shorter the door, the better. I put the doors swinging out to have more interior use. When framing the wall opposite the bed , i’ve framed in a vent hole matching the size of the screened/weather-slanted vent you buy first, and then either get one of those sliding /louvred vents for air-control from the inside, or cut a snug-fitting piece of rigid foam. For better circulation , make another such vent at the opposite side . One highest ,and the other lowest.

    Are you going full-sheet height with the shed? What dimension are the ceiling rafters? On a flat roof, for snowload and better drainage, it’s best practise on any roof to sight the individual rafters’ edges to choose the crowned edge up for installation… so even with a a 2′ high wet snowload, it won’t likely form a dish in the roof over time.

    There’s more, ……if you or anyone else needs it…. ? it’s winter time 🙂

    • You read my mind on that foam board. I hope I will have a little extra so that I can do this.
      We will see how many perks we can build in here. It will be fully dependent on how much I can collect and how many volunteers I have. So far we are a massive group of two. Which is 100% better than one.

  8. 2BarA

    Wonderful idea; would like to help with the build, but I live in Winnipeg and already support two programs for people like Fred, one at my church and a soup kitchen/food bank and I’m on a fixed income. Small donation enclosed.

  9. Sharan

    Donation done, please let me know about building dates. All the best in this beautiful venture.

    • Thank you so very much Sharon! I hope to have enough money collected to build next weekend. I will of course post every step. Are you living in this area and if so are you interested in assisting with the construction?

      • Sharan

        In the GTA so yes I would like to help. Will bring the husband and any tools that might help. If I’m not on the road for work we will be there.

      • Great Sharan! I hope to get the framing items today and do this over the weekend. Then, next week Saturday morning we will meet and head to the site. I will write a post about the meeting place for Saturday the 5th and (Sunday the 6th – if we need the extra day) and then where to meet on Saturday the 12th for the big day.

  10. Anonymous

    It’s a great idea, but will you be putting it on the same spot as her pallets?…and if it looks like a permanent structure, wouldn’t the “authorities” be more likely to make her move? I’m thinking something that would be “collapsable” and moveable might be better?

    • Yes, I thought of that. The 4×4’s will make it movable four should be able to lift it.
      If she has trouble I know a place were she won’t be bothered.

  11. Where can we donate, Laura…..???

  12. Anita

    I love the idea as well. Your link for donating doesn’t seem to be working for me. How about using the pallets in the house building project?

  13. pah

    where would u build it,,,it’s a great idea

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