The Birmingham City Council is considering building so-called "micro-shelters" to address the homelessness problem in the city.

Micro-shelters are small lockable one-room shelters with power, heating and air conditioning. 

If the measure is approved, the city will purchase up to 100 shelters from Pallet Shelter and place them in communities. The project would be among several initiatives by the City of Birmingham to combat homelessness, including the $1 million Firehouse Shelter facility, the $1.3 million AIDS Alabama Way Station facility for youth and multiple public housing developments. 

According to CBS 42 in August, Birmingham area homelessness was up in 2022 and could have been underestimated. Nearly 1,000 people in the area faced homelessness during a survey conducted that year.

Pallet Shelter has constructed micro-shelter communities around the country, including several on the West Coast. According to the City of Birmingham, the micro-shelters are a cost-efficient alternative to traditional homeless shelters and can be assembled within an hour.

According to their website, Pallet Shelter shelters are resistant to mold, rot and pests. They can be easily cleaned and are made to last over 10 years. They can also be disassembled and stored for reuse. 

Local service providers manage Pallet Shelter villages, and case managers help prepare the residents to transition into permanent housing.

The council will vote on whether or not to fund the shelters in its meeting on Tuesday.

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