Homeful is an emergency kit for those who have lost their home. Inspired by the Finnish maternity package, Homeful targets three different user groups: the homeless, refugees and disaster victims. While the basic structure of the package is the same in all of these situations, distributors can vary the contents of the package itself to fit the user's needs.
Miwa Ishizuka is a furniture and product designer, who has studied furniture design in Finland and interior architecture in Japan, working previously as a designer for a glassware company in Tokyo. The keywords in her design process are practicality, usefulness and timelessness.
Olli Vuorinen is an architect who has studied in Helsinki and Tokyo, majoring in urban design. He graduated from Aalto University in 2015 and spent the previous year working in Milan. He is interested in different scales of design, ranging from individual products to urban environments.
Homeful is an emergency package for those who have lost their home.
In Finland, since 1949 all expectant mothers regardless of income have received a maternity package containing essential childcare items. Publicized and copied around the world in recent years, the package has resulted in increased participation in prenatal care and has thus decreased infant mortality. Inspired by the maternity box, we want to help those facing one of the biggest challenges imaginable: the loss of one’s home. Homeful aspires to bring essential survival items and comfort, smartly designed, to people without a home – the homeless, refugees and disaster victims, ostracized by society and too often by government.
While the basic structure and operation of the package stay the same in all of these situations, distributors can vary the contents of the package itself. Homeful is an easy-to-transport, modular solution that can be adapted to different climates and levels of hygiene.
Distribution and use
Homeful can be distributed by both governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the Red Cross or local charity organizations. Easy to store, transport and assemble, it can be used both inside shelters and outside on the street. Put together, it is waterproof and light to carry, weighing a bit more than a regular backpack. Its use can be coupled with medical checkups or other follow-ups.
Homeful can be used both individually and communally. Used within a community, through its modular design it becomes a way of joining together and sharing. The sleeping pads can be combined to form larger functional areas, as well as tables and screens for privacy, and the pads can be used to carry people who are sick or injured.
Structure and content
Homeful consists of a core container and a sleeping pad divided into two parts: modular elements that can be assembled and disassembled in various ways. Fully assembled, Homeful forms a portable trapezoid box (66x46x25 cm), which is easy to carry on your back. Opened up, the package works as a sleeping pad. It can also be used as a table, as a screen for privacy and as a stretcher for carrying a person or things.
The whole package is held together and locked tightly in place by two fabric hoods that can also be used as baskets for keeping personal items. The outer cover is attached to the inner cover with zippers. Using snap-fit buckles, two straps can be easily attached to the package for carrying it around on one’s back.
The core container is a folded box, the contents of which can be tailored to fit particular needs. When distributed by NGOs or governmental organizations, the contents can be varied depending on the target group and local conditions.
Scenario 1: For the homeless in the US
In this case, the survival package is distributed by a local charity organization, financed with private donations, and its use can be coupled with medical checkups or other types of assistance provided by the organization. When used in shelters, the package provides a means for safekeeping personal items and can be equipped with locks. On the streets, it is easy to carry around and provides basic comfort.
Scenario 2: For a refugee in South Sudan
In this situation, the product can be coupled with a flatpack shelter, administered through an NGO. For use in especially difficult conditions, Homeful can include simple water filtering equipment, other types of portable sanitation equipment, products for menstrual hygiene, and so on.
Scenario 3: For a disaster victim in the Philippines
In this scenario, Homeful is used in communal shelters in a disaster area in the aftermath of an earthquake. The package is administered by the government and is used temporarily, before more permanent accommodation can be found. The parts can be coupled up to form larger sleeping areas and walls for privacy. They can also be coupled with other lightweight structures to form rooms, if necessary. The package can be included with personal hygiene items and medicine.
In consultation cooperation with Halti