Florida business owner Bruce Hicks spends most of his time refitting flower and bread trucks into modernized food trucks. However, one of Hicks’ recent projects has gotten people’s attention — and it has nothing to do with selling Asian/Mexican fushion wraps out of a truck. From the Florida Sun Sentinel:

From the outside, it looks like a giant silver freezer. It’s 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and 5 feet high, big enough to house a narrow bed, a small sink and a toilet.

But can this boxy pod help South Florida’s homeless? Two local businessmen think so.

Bruce Hicks, owner of Food Truck Heaven in Davie, has constructed a prototype for a mini-shelter on wheels that could be used to provide short-term housing for people who suddenly find themselves homeless or as relief for crowded shelters.

He asked Hicks — who’s known for transforming former flower and bread trucks into bustling food trucks — if he could design something similar: a micro-home-on-wheels.

Hicks accepted the challenge and spent a week in August building it out of aluminum.

The immediate service for these aluminum pods may be for a community’s local homeless population, but some big-picture thinking shows how they could be adapted for disaster-relief situations.

Now Norton and Hicks are developing plans to present the contraption to local shelters and see how these pods can be used. They think such units could also help people who lose their homes after a natural disaster, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“It can give you a little hope to carry you a week or another month,” said Norton. “What we have is a potential solution, a low-cost solution for temporary housing for somebody in crisis.

Thanks to aluminum’s combination of strength and lightweight properties, temporary shelters like this can be made available. With the prototype now ready, the next step will be to see if the market is ready for such an innovation.