The Shelter Box by Milano in Azione

A multifunctional design made to alleviate the harshness of living on the street.

Milano in Azione (Milan in Action) is a nonprofit organisation that works to make the lives of marginalised people a little more comfortable in the city of Milan, Italy. Founded in 2012, the NGO puts emphasis on the social reintegration of homeless citizens who have for whatever reason been forgotten by society. Now, they have come up with the Shelter Box, a simple design made to aid extremely poor people on ground level.

Around 2014, Italy had approximately 48 000 people living on its streets. It is estimated that there are 3 000 homeless people currently living in Milan. Following a recent reduction in capacity of homeless shelters in the city (called the Cold Municipal Plan of March 31st), many homeless people have had to return to the streets.

To assist with the problem, MIA has come up with this Shelter Box design. It is a simple, multifunctional box made from reinforced cardboard. It can be reconfigured to suit different needs and take the shape of a chair, sleeping case, table or a suitcase to keep belongings safe with.

While the Shelter Box does not cure the problem of homelessness, it does make the lives of disadvantaged people a little bit more comfortable. It is an inexpensive, durable and easy to assemble container that keeps the frost of winter at bay to some extent.

Distribution of the Shelter Box will depend chiefly on donations (which can be made here) and the manpower of MIA’s volunteers. As one of the NGO’s workers remarks, “They’re small steps that we are taking to help and to do something within our possibilities.”