9-Year-Old Girl Building Personal Homeless Shelters for Her 'Friends'

A little girl is making a big impact for the homeless in her county.

ByABC News
June 4, 2015, 9:58 AM

— -- When Hailey Fort was just 5 years old, she spotted a homeless man in Kitsap County, Washington where she lives. She asked her mom whether she could help him.

Her mom said yes, and for the last four years, that's what Hailey's been doing: helping the homeless, with the help of her mom. She plans to build 12 mobile shelters this year.

The recipient of the first shelter, Hailey's mom Miranda Fort told ABC News, is a man named Edward. "She [Hailey] went through all of her homeless friends and made the decision based on a number of things. This shelter doesn't have a place for a wheelchair, so it wasn't a good fit for Billy Ray. Similarly, it wasn't a good fit for her friend Tonka, a dog, and his owner. Edward stuck out because he has always been so gracious when receiving food."

Miranda said the family has already met with the city to make sure the shelter won't cause a problem though its exact location has not yet been determined. "Our city ordinance on the issue states that it can be placed on a church lot. We have a few leads on churches that will allow his structure, but for Edward's safety we aren't disclosing where."

Food is another one of Hailey's priorities. She grows fruits and vegetables, and hopes to grow 250 pounds for the homeless this year. She's begun documenting her progress on a Facebook page "Hailey's Harvest." The homeless, her mom said, are people she counts as her friends. It's that friendship, in part, that keeps her going. "Hailey is repeatedly told that she can stop at any time but she continues because this is her passion. I think a lot has to do with setting such high goals and then the rush she gets when she meets them."

In addition to the 12 mobile shelters and 250 pounds of food: 1000 toiletries, 500 feminine hygiene products and 100 coats. She's trying to raise $1,000 on her GoFundMe page and is about three-fourths of the way there.

The community has been supportive of Hailey's efforts. The cost to build one shelter, her mom said, is about $300, but the reason that price is so low is because she gets many items donated. The walls are made of pallets, which are stuffed with recycled denim insulation. The structure has a shingled roof, drywall, wood siding, and vinyl flooring. The house will have window curtains, a solar-powered lamp and most importantly, a lock on the front door.

Hailey's dad Quentin, said Hailey's -- and Miranda's -- selflessness "comes from a place which seems foreign to most but seems completely natural to them."

"It is no surprise to me that Hailey is this selfless with Miranda as an example, I am immensely proud of the contributions Hailey has made and will continue to make to her community. I just hope we, as parents, can do enough to satiate her desire to help those in need."