As Michael McDaniel watched Hurricane Katrina refugees being packed into the New Orleans Superdome and Houston Astrodome in August 2005, he was aghast at the grim living conditions and the numbers of separated families holding up cardboard signs in search of one another.
His feelings of dismay were soon overtaken by a desire to figure out a better solution — a housing apparatus that could be quickly assembled in the event of an emergency and keep families together in a safe, comfortable environment. Though almost a decade has passed since Katrina, the need for such housing hasn’t waned. According to the 2014 Global Estimates Report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, an average of 27.5 million people have been displaced each year by natural disasters since 2008.
After years of experimenting with designs, McDaniel founded the company Reaction Housing and developed the Exo Housing System — a portable, secure, stackable shelter whose design was inspired by the structure of a disposable coffee cup.
Both the cost and efficiency of Exo housing are what makes it a no-brainer. While the FEMA trailers used for Hurricane Katrina cost $20,000 each for a one-time use, the 80-square-foot Exo shelters cost one-quarter of the amount, are reusable and can be set up in under two minutes without the use of tools or machinery, McDaniel told Fast Company.
Furthermore, one cargo shipment can fit 20 Exo shelters, which house 80 people, as opposed to shipping two travel trailers that can house only eight.
Each Exo uses energy-efficient doors and skylights, contains digital door locks for safety, is insulated for climate control and is capable of connecting to electricity, heat and air conditioning. The Exo shelters can also be arranged in pods to ensure that extended families stay together.
The company exceeded its campaign goal of $50,000 on Indiegogo last year and has raised an additional $10 million this year, according to Fortune. With the extra funding, the company says it’s on-track to build 600 units per month.
Learn more about Reaction Housing at their website and by watching the video below:
Top photo courtesy of Reaction inc.’s Facebook page