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A German city has installed a number of pods for homeless people to sleep in
Officials in Ulm, about 75 miles west of Munich, installed the units, known as 'Ulmer Nest', on 8 January, to give shelter to rough sleepers during the cold winter months.
A spokesperson for the city said the pods, which are made out of wood and steel, had been placed in parks and other areas.
The beds have been fitted with thermal insulation to protect the homeless from the wind, cold, and humidity. They are also large enough for two people to use.
There are no cameras, sensors are activated when they are in use.
And despite some delays, those behind the initiative have confirmed that they had finally been rolled out just as the weather started to take a turn for the worse.
Writing on its Facebook page, the group said: "Today the two Ulm nests were repositioned - unfortunately due to corona with delay, but just in time for the really cold nights.
"We hope to repeat last year's positive feedback in order to provide a supplementary measure regarding the existing frostbite protection in Ulm in the long term."
Listing some of the improvements that had been made, the group added: "We improved thermal internal isolation and took measures to optimize the climate (less moisture + warmer air).
"The nests are now equipped with solar panels, which allows (at least) energy neutral use during the day. Further energy saving measures are in the works.
"The Ulmer Nests are now connected to the Ulmer LoRa-Wan-IoT-wireless network and should communicate completely about it in the long term in order not to depend on mobile networks.
"The locking and the corresponding mechanisms have been completely revised and now offer easier operation and more interaction options for all involved."
Flaco Pross, who designed the pods, said they are incredibly easy to use, and that people don't need to fill in any forms to register to access them.
The pods have been fit with sensors that pick up whenever they are opened or closed, with the Caritas Ulm-Alb-Donau charity association, or members of Ulmer Nest, being notified if someone has stayed in one for the night.
The next day, someone from the charity goes down to check on the pod and to offer the user some help if they are still there.
The charity will also inspect the pods for any damage that has been caused, repairing them as quickly as possible so that they can be used again.
The aim is to offer rough sleepers somewhere to stay during the cold nights, and, it's hoped, give the charity the ability to initiate contact with them.
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