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Is the “iglou” a tube of survival, dignity, housing?

“Insulated Shelters IGLOU – an innovation to save lives.”Photo of a man smiling at the camera inside a white foam tube with an aluminum lining.

The iglou [not an igloo] is made out of Styrofoam pieces and lined with aluminum for fire resistance and heat retention. The 3 pieces are stackable and easily transportable. They only cost 250 Euros in France partly because of volunteer and community support! The plans are available for free to qualified people they “think are competent to carry the project in their countries. Simply send a CV/resume here:

Group of six styrofoam "Iglou" shelters.

The creators

The project came out of volunteer engineers rather than governments or businesses. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a social, human rights and dignity perspective on homelessness and civil inclusion. But that also is not their role.

Geoffroy de Reynal, Director, inventor of the iglou

As a renewable energy engineer, I worked abroad on wind turbine construction sites as a quality manager for a couple of years. When I got back, I realized the critical homeless situation in France. This project is a way to use my technical knowledge to meet a social challenge

Alice Lainé President of the non-profit

As a software development engineer, I like to combine career, passions and commitment to a cause. I wanted to make use of my project management skills to offer a shelters to the homeless in winter

Can you see this in Toronto? What would be more surprising to you – that the city would wrap homeless people in styrofoam or that the Iglou would not be available and people had to endure less privacy and fewer shelter options?

Do you think a solution like this would be more or less likely to lead to dignified affordable housing? The image of little tubes containing people sprouting around Toronto streets might be hilarious, threatening, or tragic. But it might also be necessary. They are definitely cheaper than the big tents. And they could be set up around a central shower and service centre to allow privacy and “efficient” service… Yes that sounds cringey.


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