Cardborigami, a Personal Shelter for the Homeless

June 13, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. collapsible / kəˈlæp sə bəl / (adj.) – having the capacity of being broken down or folded by parts
Example: The collapsible bed is very convenient.

2. transportable / trænsˈpɔːrtəbl̩ / (adj.) – can be moved from one place to another
Example: We should bring a transportable stove for the trip.

3. alleviate / əˈli viˌeɪt / (v.) – to ease, lessen, or reduce something
Example: The organization aims to alleviate poverty in the state.

4. integrate / ˈɪn tɪˌgreɪt / (v.) – to be added in a larger group
Example: You can integrate yourself into society by getting employed.

5. permanent / ˈpɜr mə nənt / (adj.) – not going to change
Example: The ancestral house is our permanent home.


Read the text below.
Architect Tina Hovsepian [huhv-SEE-pee-uh n] has invented a personal origami-inspired shelter that the homeless can use.

Hovsepian, a graduate from the University of Southern California, developed the collapsible and transportable personal shelter called Cardborigami. It is made from recyclable, waterproof, and flame-resistant materials, making the shelter convenient for outdoor use. Hovsepian first made the shelter as a school project, but it turned out to be a tool that could help alleviate homelessness.

Hovsepian’s non-profit organization, also with the name Cardborigami, aims to help the homeless by temporarily providing them with these shelters, while the organization works on having them relocated.

According to a report from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, about 100 million people around the world were homeless in 2005. In the United States alone, about 600,000 to 2.5 million citizens were homeless in 2009. During the same year, Australia recorded 105,000 homeless people. In 2010, there were three million homeless people in Europe.

To help reduce the number of homeless people, Hovsepian and her organization developed a four-step path out of homelessness. The first step is providing the participants of the program with Cardborigamis and ensuring that they are in a safe and private environment. Second is helping integrate homeless people back into society by giving the necessary training, job placement, and social services.

The third step entails finding permanent housing for the homeless. The last step is hiring participants of the Cardborigami program to help in creating the shelters, so their livelihood can be sustained.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the Cardborigami shelter is a good idea? Why or why not?
·         Among Cardborigami’s four steps out of homelessness, which do you think is the easiest to achieve? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, what are the causes of homelessness? Kindly discuss your answer.
·         How else can homelessness be addressed?

June 13, 2015