Calgary college graduate Micah Louison knows what it’s like to be suddenly homeless.

The 24-year-old was living in Grenada in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan struck, killing nearly 100 people and displacing thousands.

So when the computer programming student was challenged in a college course to create a product with a social impact, he immediately thought of providing shelter.

“I know what it’s like not to have it,” he said.

Louison designed Home in a Bag, a lightweight waterproof shelter that can be set up in as little as 90 seconds. They can be joined together to keep families from being separated.

The goal, he says, is to see his product distributed by groups such as the Red Cross or the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency so that people in disaster zones can quickly rebuild their lives.

Louison is so committed to Home in a Bag that he’s spending 45 days this fall living in it on the streets of Calgary, where it can be sunny one day and snowing the next.

“My intention wasn’t to make it all weather-proof but it has to be able to survive an average Calgary week,” he said.

He’s also planning to keep improving the prototype. The next version is expected to feature a solar panel for charging smartphones and laptops.

Louison thinks the market for his product will grow in the future, due to climate change.

“Hurricanes are going to be more frequent,” he says.

With a report from CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks