The Welcome Home: A Tiny House, Huge Purpose campaign and initial idea all began with a simple friendship. Elvis Summers lives in Los Angeles and had gotten to know a woman named Smokie. Irene “Smokie” McGhee has been on the streets for 10 years. She is not an addict. She was married to a wonderful man and when he passed away, she eventually lost her house and had nowhere to go. Smokie has a son, but he has six children of his own and, although he helps his mother as much as he can, she refuses to live with him because he has enough to worry about, she believes.
Summers, who found out the 60-year-old grandmother was sleeping in a patch of dirt at night, decided he was going to do something more. He took $500 of his own money and set out to Home Depot to get the materials needed to build McGhee a place to call her own. The home was built on wheels so that it could be easily moved. The local police have been very supportive, but ask that the home be relocated every 72 hours, according to ordinance.