Mad Housers

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Archival Note

The text on this page was adapted from a discontinued web site that was created on behalf of the Mad Housers and which had information about the organization as well as some practical details about "co-generation", i.e. recycling immobile automobiles with working engines to provide heat and electricity for homeless huts. It needs to be rewritten to a third-party perspective.


The Mad Housers, Inc. is a homelessness support organization based in Atlanta, GA. Unlike most homelessness advocacy organizations, they are directly involved with designing, building, and deploying solutions to make the lives of homeless people easier and to minimize logistical barriers (such as the lack of a safe place to sleep) to re-entering mainstream society.

About The Mad Housers

The Mad Housers, Inc. is a non-profit corporation registered with the State of Georgia since April 11, 1988. We have a 501(c)3 (non-profit organization) IRS status, engaged in charitable work, research and education. Our corporate charter outlines our goals and purposes:

  • To provide shelter for homeless individuals and families regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender or age.
  • To develop low income housing for people in need of housing.
  • To help people develop the skills and knowledge for constructing and rehabilitating housing and shelter.
  • To increase the quantity and to improve the quality of housing in the world.
  • To act, if necessary as an advocate for the homeless, to ensure that their moral and civil rights are protected.

The Huts

last updated 2000.03.26

The Mad Housers believe that if a person has a secure space from which to operate, they are much more capable of finding the resources to help themselves.

a Mad Houser Hut. The shelters we build are called "Huts". The picture shown is of an older variety we no longer make, about a foot shorter than our current 6' x 8' huts. Click on image for a better look.

Each hut is an approximately 6' x 8' x 10' dry, heatable shelter from which to operate. These huts are big enough for a sleeping space (a loft), a food preparation area and a small wood/charcoal-burning heater/stove. The huts are built to maximize the use of a minimal amount of space. Using a loft for sleeping almost doubles the useable floor space. It also allows the occupant to sleep elevated where the warm air from the stove allows the occupant to be comfortable with minimal fuel usage.


The materials needed to build one hut are:

  • (2) 2" x 4" x 12'
  • (38) 2" x 4" x 8'
  • (3) 2" x 6" x 8'
  • (7) full sheets plywood 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" or 3/4" for the siding
  • (5) full sheets plywood 1/2", 5/8" or 3/4" for the roof.
  • 100 ft.2 roofing felt
  • 100 ft.2 rolled roofing
  • Paint to cover 500 sq.ft


Mad Housers President Frank Jeffers has developed a Co-Generation plant for hot water and 12-volt electricity to make hut living a comparable alternative to low-income housing. A moderate-sized battery bank of golf cart or heavy equipment batteries will provide 5 huts with electricity for 2-3 days between charges. A 4-cylinder car engine attached to one or more alternators recharges the battery bank when needed.

car engine with 100-amp truck alternator installed powered by the cogen system installing non-auto batteries prevents theft

Hot water is generated by diverting the water from the heater core of the engine through ordinary heater hose into soft copper tubing. This tubing is used as a heating coil. The heat of the water in the tubing is transferred to the water in the tank until the water reaches its heat absorption-saturation point, which in this case is well above 150°. The hot water is then stored in a very well-insulated container (in the photo below, Frank Jeffers displays the plastic barrel-in-a-metal barrel design. Notice the steam.)

heat reclamation barrel with insulated lid when we say hot water, we mean it!!