Emergency Housing for MCS

Here is a list of some housing ideas for those with environmental sensitivities needing immediate or temporary safe housing:


KOA Cabins


koa.com
KOA cabins are located across the US and Canada. The cabins are made from mostly safe materials (mostly wood) and have been reported to be good places to stay for those who are environmentally sensitive. Ask if the wood has been stained recently. The bathrooms are separate and may or may not be mould-free depending on the location.

For a list of good locations to try, see this post.







Renting a Natural Home 


Staying in a cob house (or straw bale, adobe, light straw-clay house) can be a really good option

Ecovillages may rent out rooms in natural homes and there is a possibility of getting in on the communal meal plan as well. Search for some in your area and ask about monthly stays.

The location you choose is also important as the outdoor air can be as important as the indoor air.

For a list of more locations and rental possibilities
see this post. I have seen some natural homes listed on AirBnB as well as on lists of intentional communities/ecovillages. 

Always ask about propane, natural gas, cleaning products, and water damage. 


Home Made Tent


from: www.miketyka.com/projects/desert-dome/
Regular tents are difficult because of the chemicals used on the fabrics, the lack of insulation and the tendency for them to go musty very easily and be a lot of work with the airing out and drying out. 

Reflectix provides some R-value and reflects light so that should work in a lot of different climates, though the seams will reduce the insulative value. There are simpler designs for the structure that will reduce seams.

You can't buy these - you would have to look online for the metal structure, then buy the Reflectix, foam, aluminum tape and duct tape and then have someone make it for you. See this post for the instructions. The tape may make this intolerable for some. And this also lacks air flow. 

I would also make at least one triangle out of polyethylene or an EVA Shower Liner so that you have some light. But have a flap of Reflectix over it that you open and close over this "window".

For the base, you could put styrofoam down and cover that with Reflectix, mylar blankets or polyethylene  For something a little more permanent you could get MgO board and put it on concrete blocks. You could put styrofoam in the spaces underneath - or do MgO/styrofoam/MgO. 

Here is a patient who has made a tent out of Tyvek which she tolerates well. 

Insulated/Aluminum Tents


billionbricks.org
These tents are insulated and the foil on the inside will also block most of the VOCs from the fabric on the outside. They say you can sleep in them down to 0 degrees celsius. They are 269 USD.

For 18 USD you can get this aluminum lined small sleeping tent. It's not insulated but the aluminum on the inside is more tolerable than the usual canvas. 






Bubble Tent


source http://dornob.com
Made of thick polyethylene, these cute domes might inspire you to go glamping. They are available in the UK (Ebay) for 999 Pounds.  Hopefully they will come to North America soon.

They include a fan that circulates fresh air.
Though they would still be impractical for hot or cold weather. 

Update: The bubbles available in North America are made of PVC which is toxic. 



Regular Tents

There is no perfectly chemical-free tent as far as I know, but I have heard good things about cheap tents from Walmart, Big Agnes tents. Others report LL Bean and Colmen as having been tolerable. Some say Coleman is smelly and Lightspeed is better. Moonlight makes flame retardant-free tents coated with silicone on the outside and polyurethane on the inside.

For more information please see these excellent articles by EI Wellspring on Safer Camping and Safer Camping Equipment

An upcoming post is going to focus just on safe camping gear. 


Metal Shed in Backyard

homedepot.ca
Steel sheds can be bought from hardware stores for 700-1000 dollars. You will also need to build a foundation, pay for labour to set it up, caulk the whole structure and likely put in some insulation. For everything you need to know about setting up a shed to live in see this post by EI Wellspring.

Sheds are not as easy to take down as you would expect.








Back of a Pick-Up Truck

Try and find an aluminum canopy. The bed liner should be offgassed or can be covered with Reflectix or mylar. If ordering a brand new truck you can request no liner.

Cargo Trailer

Details on making a cargo trailer safe in this post. 


Creating a Safe-Room in Your House

To create a non-toxic room in your home you can use Denny foil, or heavy duty aluminum foil on the walls/ceiling/floor. These materials block VOCs (chemicals/toxins including mould). Heavy duty aluminum foil is much easier to work with than the type used in cooking. You may need several layers to totally block smells. 

You want to use green Painting Tape for this as it will not damage the walls and is easy to remove - a healthy person could rip off/take down the whole room is probably 20-30 min (small room). The blue tape is toxic so I wouldn't use that. You could use aluminum tape but it is very sticky and will leave a residue and will be hard to take off. Aluminum tape also smells much more than green tape. 

I would not do this where you have colder air inside than outside (AC use). 

I have used this successfully on areas that were offgassing (a new door). 

Cover outlets, window frame but not the window. As for light fixtures, I would go around them.

The only thing in the room should be clean bedding i.e. a new non-toxic mattress or camping cot (etc). New non-toxic bedding and pillow. Be careful with bringing in EMFs producing devices if you use foil. Practice decontamination and isolation - i.e. by new clothing for the bedroom and shower before entering. This will be a safe clean non-toxic place to sleep. It should help insomnia immediately. But be careful that when you open the window or the door that the air coming in might not be good, so this won't be a long-term solution. 


Other Emergency Housing

We should have emergency and long-term safe housing for people with MCS. Check out the Environmental Health Association of Québec if you are a Quebecer. 

In Canada there is a national Housing Connection service connecting people renters with housing. More info here

If you are in the US, join Re|shelter's underground network

When I come across places on AirBnB that look safe I list them here


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3 comments:

  1. What a great post! I'm' going to check out Tu Tuf. I have never tried it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete