In the United States, homelessness is no small matter; in 2015 nearly 1.5 million people were staying in homeless shelters with an additional 578,424 people living without shelter – that is to say, on the street. The national rate of homelessness was 17.7 per 10,000 people, ranging as high as 111 per 10,000 in areas like Washington D.C.. Of the homeless population, in 2014 8.6% of those without shelter were veterans, men and women who have served this country.
Organizations like Habitat for Humanity work to actively combat the issue of homelessness by building houses and residences in areas of high need, but the demand is so much higher than the supply that using this method as a solution likely remains unfeasible.
That’s where 3D printing comes in.
You’ve likely seen videos on the internet of people 3D printing everything from toys to cooking utensils to automobiles and everything in between. For many, many years after it was first invented in the 1980s, 3D printing was something that was far too costly, and therefore exclusive, for anyone who wasn’t wealthy. It wasn’t until 2007 that the first system was released that cost under $10,000, but even then the market didn’t open up like it was hoped. The public demanded a system for under $5,000 which became a new mark to hit. In January 2009, the first system became commercially available for purchase in the form of a kit. Thus began the 3D printer craze we see now.
Although we typically see the entertainment side of 3D printing, some amazing progress has been made in areas that could truly benefit society. A recent development may even be able to take a huge stab at the issue of homeless across the nation; earlier this month a house was 3D printed in Russia and on site in less than 24 hours.
The San-Francisco-and-Russia based company called Apis Cor developed a printer that can build and paint the concrete walls of a house in just about 24 hours. Once the walls of the house is completed, the workers remove the printer – which looks more like a crane than a printer – and add the rest of the structure, like the windows, doors, and the roof. Once completed, the house can last for up to 175 years.
Not only are they quick and easy to build, these houses are also incredibly affordable, costing only about $10,000 to make, with the most expensive portion being the windows and the doors.
On a mass scale, these amazing and innovative houses offer a feasible and affordable solution to help combat the issue of homelessness in America.