Orange County teen designed cart with bed, toilet and storage for homeless
In an effort to provide dignity and privacy for Orange County’s homeless, an Irvine teenager has designed and built a mobile cart with a bed, toilet and storage.
Jordan Szigeti-Larenne, 17, came up with the idea for “Homes2Go” after realizing what a crucial resource shopping carts are for homeless people to store and transport their goods.
“I want to be able to help those people and give them some more dignity and a better place to live while they’re on the streets and just do the best I can to make their life better,” said Szigeti-Larenne, a senior at Woodbridge High School.
Szigeti-Larenne decided to put a new spin on the traditional shopping cart by providing it with more functionality.
The cart includes three buckets, one for storing goods, another for water and the third as a portable toilet.
The water container includes a custom pump to transfer the water into a cup or bottle. The bathroom bucket includes a foam noodle that can be used as a toilet seat.
The cart is outfitted with 10-inch tires that can cross over rough terrain, and it has a foldout bed.
“You just fold it out long enough for an adult, and it sits about a few inches off the ground,” Szigeti-Larenne said. “So if the floor is wet or dirty they don’t have to sleep on a dirty floor. And that bed also folds into like a sort of couch, like a little leisure device.”
A water-resistant covering goes over the bed.
“It also provides privacy,” Szigeti-Larenne said, “so people don’t stare at [the user] while they’re asleep.”
The cover can also be used while using the cart’s toilet.
Szigeti-Larenne thought of the idea about a year ago, prior to the original stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. He is all the more emboldened now, he said, because many more people will become homeless as they lose their jobs due to the pandemic economy.
Szigeti-Larenne builds the carts in his garage, which is equipped with all the needed tools.
He said his father taught him how to use the tools as he was constructing the first iterations of the cart.
“I do other things around my house, like fix things, but this was like the first thing that I developed and fabricated myself,” Szigeti-Larenne said, pointing out that he went through about four prototypes before settling on the current version of the cart.
Szigeti-Larenne said a homeless veterans group in Los Angeles is interested in ordering 30 carts. He said there isn’t currently a timeline on fulfilling that order, and he is still raising money to be able to construct the carts and start a nonprofit.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Szigeti-Larenne has raised $5,680. He said the carts cost about $250 to make, though he is working on lowering the cost.
Szigeti-Larenne is accepting donations at https://bit.ly/37qNL9f.
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