Safehouse of the Desert adds unique eco-friendly building

POSTED: 05:10 PM PDT Jul 30, 2013    UPDATED: 05:31 PM PDT Jul 30, 2013 

They look like legos, and they kind of are.

"They stack up like legos. We put rebar between them in the holes then stack them up and pour concrete in between and in the end the styrofoam stays in place," Kenny Dickerson of Eco Masterbuilders said. 

The foam blocks form the walls of Safehouse of the Desert's new addition.

"We are building a two-room school house which will be on the campus of Safehouse of the Desert," Mary Battin of Safehouse of the Desert said. 

The only shelter in the Coachella Valley for youth in crisis, Safehouse can now offer even more.

"Right now they do all their schooling in the recreation center. It's the one room where kids go to do everything. It's kind of nice for them to have that just be the rec center and let school just be school," Battin said. 

A great purpose, but let's get back to what's turning most heads -- these one-of-a-kind blocks.  

These styrofoam blocks are extremely light, but when put together, they create a fortress.

"In Hurricane Katrina, down by the 9th district we have an aerial photo a foam block house was the only one in the city block. There isns't a tree standing, nothing but concrete pads, and the foam house is still there," Dickerson said. 

They're strong -- and cool, and warm when need be.

"I always explain it when you take your styrofoam cooler to the beach, you sit there all day long. Is the ice still there at the end of the day? Same insulating factor is going on. Once you cool it down during the summer, you cool it down. In the winter, you heat it up and it stays warm," Dickerson said. 

The eco-friendly site will use solar power and hardly any lumber. 

Construction starts Saturday, August 3rd for the project set to finish in October.

For more information on how to volunteer and help build this school, go to or you can show up at Safehouse on Saturday, August 3rd. It is located at  72710 E Lynn St  Thousand Palms, CA 92276.