The cabin looks like a space capsule from a science fiction movie. The Ulmer Nest, however, was made for this time, as an alternative sleeping place for the homeless in the winter months. The invention is a protection for the German city of Ulm on the Danube, where two prototype sleeper cabins have been in use for a year as a trial.
The Ulmer Nest was passed by this week at the meeting of the district committee in Nieuw-West. The faction of Denk proposed Mohamed Alkaduhimi to investigate whether the German invention can also be brought to Amsterdam. The reason was a man whom Alkaduhimi had found sleeping on the street in the morning on his way to work.
The committee member concerned about the number of homeless people in the district. “Winter is just around the corner. It cannot be the case that people in Amsterdam have to sleep on the street. The Ulmer Nest appears to be a practical solution to protect homeless people from the cold, wind and rain.”
That is exactly what the sleeping cabin does, says Florian Geiselhart on behalf of the six-person team that designs the Ulmer Nest. The cabin is made of wood and metal and equipped with all kinds of gadgets, such as a solar panel that supplies enough power for lighting, a fan. Also important: the sleeping place can be locked and is easy to keep clean.
The first experiences are very positive, says Geiselhart. “The two cabins were occupied every night. Acceptance was high, not only among the target group, but also among the environment. There were local residents who came to bring a cup in the morning. For the welfare workers, the cabin is a good place to keep in touch with the homeless.”
Geiselhart that the sleeping cabin is intended as a last refuge, and not as an alternative to the existing shelter. “There are homeless people who don’t want to take advantage because they are for violence from crime or don’t want to be separated from their dog. It really complements the facilities that are already there.”
The publicity about the experiment in Ulm could lead to requests for more information from all over the world, and even to orders. We are not there yet, says Geiselhart: “We are working hard on it, but we are not ready for production yet. We are still working on the prototype and hope to be ready before next winter.”
So they will also have to have one in Nieuw-West. District chairman Emre Ünver shared the committee’s concerns, but there is also evidence that the winter cold scheme offers sufficient space for all homeless people. “If necessary, we scale up. No one to sleep on the street, that remains the basic principle in Amsterdam.”