GLENDALE, Ariz. — A Valley woman who helps people for a living is on a mission to shelter the homeless herself by building and giving away mobile shacks.
Since January, nurse’s aide Shannon Palermo has built five mobile custom shacks for transients in Greater Phoenix at her Glendale home. She stocks each with a cooler of water, furnishings and toiletries.
“We, as human beings, deserve to have a safe place to sleep. It doesn’t matter what your story is, you deserve that,” Palermo said.
A giver by nature — she has volunteered at not-for-profit organizations for years — Palermo decided to start her own charity, Shannon’s Shacks.
Palermo collects raw materials such as wood, carpet and furniture by posting ads on Craigslist requesting donations. Once she’s collected enough material, Palermo breaks out her power tools and, with her own hands, builds homes for those who don’t have one. She taught herself basic carpentry skills.
“Unfortunately, in our economy there’s a lot more homeless people then we really realize and they’re kind of invisible to us and we want them to know that they’re not invisible,” said Palermo, said.
She also wants to let those who are homeless in the Valley know that they are not alone. That’s why Palermo started building the shacks, which can be pushed from place to place, no need for a car.
“The very last one I did was for a veteran. His name is Kirk. He has a dog.”
Kirk Ellsworth fell on hard times when he came to the Valley. Eventually, he ended up living on the streets. He said he was looking for a safe place to sleep. “She came by and said, ‘How would you like a little shack on wheels?’ ”
Palermo said Ellsworth was thrilled with the idea so she went to work. She finished a week behind schedule.
“The week passed and I didn’t get my hopes up too high and the all of a sudden here she popped up again,” Ellsworth said.
Now, Ellsworth has a roof over his head everywhere he roams. He said the shack has changed his life. “The thing is sturdy and it works. I’ve got a place where I can change my clothes, clean up. It’s kind of nice.”
Ellsworth said if he gets off the street he’ll hand off the shack to someone else in need.
Palermo recalled the first of the five shacks she hammered together, designed for a couple with two young kids living on the street.
“Once I was finished I went back to find the little family that I met and I haven’t yet found them,” she said.
So, that shack sits empty in Palermo’s front yard. She said hopes one day she can give them their home.
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food