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Portable toilets converted into homes for homeless

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles man says he’s found a solution to the city’s housing crisis in the most unlikeliest of places.

T.K. Devine wants to help solve L.A.’s homeless problem with portable toilets.

“Folks who are living it rough and living on the streets and are trying to make a better life for themselves, they need consistency,” Devine told CBS Los Angeles. “They need a good night’s rest.”

The 35-year-old founder of Porta-Home is converting portable toilets into portable homes out of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, including one built for himself.

It’s a large unit, originally built for those with disabilities, and the toilet is removed. The bed folds up and turns the room into a kitchen, along with a mini-fridge under the bed.

“I can fit a 6-foot-1 frame — with my shoes off, like my mama taught me — comfortably on the bed, and yeah, it’s as big as a twin bed,” he says.

T.K. Devine stretches out on the bed in a mini-home he converted from a Porta-Potty. CBS Los Angeles

When you have to use the bathroom, just walk around back to the attached shower unit. The recycled water irrigates a top-level garden near solar panels that power the home. The system rests on a trailer that can be parked on any residential property, and the only hookup needed is a water hose.

Having intentionally lived out of his truck and former office space, Devine has proved his devotion to the alternative housing and micro-housing movement. He’s hoping these Porta-Homes can offer an affordable solution.

“I think we can do this for under [$20,000]” per unit, he said.

Once Devine finishes his current home, he’s planning on loading it onto a trailer for a yearlong tour of Los Angeles, parking it at different residential properties.

While he lives inside the trailer, he’ll be documenting the experience online at his website. Devine says he hopes to raise the funds through donations and then donate the homes to homeless charities.

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