Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Jason Christensen, founder of Sleep Trailers in Albany, Oregon takes that quote to heart. In 2016 Jason was driving to work on a dreary, rainy day when he saw a man who was homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. This man had a blanket and nothing over his head. Jason’s first thought was why aren’t people doing something about this as this is not okay. Right after that thought Jason felt a punch in his gut. Why wasn’t he doing something? His thoughts went from “I am only one person” to “I could be doing something.” Jason knew in his heart that moment he needed to take action and from there founded Sleep Trailers. I had the honor, and fun, to talk with Jason about all things Sleep Trailers.
“A bed for every head.” Jason Christensen
Jason is a behavioral specialist who works with people to help them get unstuck from unhealthy patterns of behavior and develop healthier behaviors to cope with life. This perspective on people helped to shape his perspective on identifying a solution for people who do not have a safe space to sleep at night. According to Security.org there are 582,462 people who are homeless in the United States of America with 30% of people experiencing chronic homelessness. These numbers are going up. As Jason thoughtfully explored options and ideas he discovered Capsule Hotels, which are Japanese hotels sometimes called “Pod Hotels.” These capsules have many small sized “pods” with a bed for sleeping. They are simple, efficient, and have the capacity for many people to have a place to sleep. As Jason continued to problem solve he thought about developing a trailer that would hold a number of pods.These “Sleep Trailers” would offer safe and secure sleeping spaces for individuals in need of a bed for their head.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.” Harriet Tubman
Next Jason had to find someone to build a Sleep Trailer. A Sleep Trailer had to have eight lockable and safe pods. Each pod had to have AC, heating, a window,, be easy to clean, easy to access, and secure. Jason used his own savings and borrowed money to build the original Sleep Trailer. There are designs in place for Sleep Trailers to be built that are all the one level, ones where the trailer can lower to the ground for people to have easier access to enter. Jason has planned how a Sleep Trailer can be located that is not a burden to the community. After the first Sleep Trailer was completed Jason partnered in a pilot program with a non profit (Crossroads Communities) and a church which also has a soup kitchen that runs three times each week in Lebanon Oregon for a trial run for one week. The staff of the non-profit checked people in and checked people out. A port-a-potty and washing station were located nearby. Part of the planning included communication with local law enforcement who did a few drive bys during the night as an extra security measure. Jason cherishes relationships with community stakeholders to provide an environment that is safe and functional for those using a Sleep Trailer along with fitting in seamlessly in the community where a Sleep Trailer is located.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
Sleep Trailers can also be used in many other ways. They can be located in areas after disasters to give residents a safe place to sleep. First responders and other emergency workers could sleep in a Sleep Trailer while providing help. Because each Sleep Trailer provides safe, secure sleeping for eight to sixteen people these trailers provide the ability to help to have a bed for many to put their head. Pallet Shelters can be stored in the Sleep Trailer and then easily set up in the surrounding areas. Accessibility to a Sleep Trailer can occur by using a ramp or dropping the trailer down. Paramount to all of this is having a plan that provides simple steps on the implementation of a Sleep Trailer along with ongoing communication with community stakeholders.This is not to be a burden to the community. Sleep Trailers are designed to ease some of the stress and burden on a community.
“I cannot do all the good the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do.” Jana Stanfield
To date Jason has over six organizations who have signed letters of intent with the goal of reaching at least fifteen to twenty that want to utilize Sleep Trailers and numerous other organizations expressing interest and wanting more information about Sleep Trailers. The steps of managing a Sleep Trailer have been developed to make locating a Sleep Trailer in a community a seamless process. The current barrier to building more Sleep Trailers is financial. He hopes to get sponsors who would financially purchase a Sleep Trailer with their logo on it for the life of the trailer and donate the trailer to an organization to provide a bed for many heads. He believes Sleep Trailers can offer hope for a better future for those in need of hope and a safe place to rest their head.
It is with honor we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on Jason Christensen, founder of Sleep Trailers. We thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.
For more information about Sleep Trailers here is their information:
Instagram: @sleeptrailerllc https://www.instagram.com/sleeptrailerllc/
TikTok: @sleeptrailerllc https://www.tiktok.com/@sleeptrailerllc