Homes for Hope Designed to House Homeless Population

  • February 15, 2017

The homeless population in Los Angeles, CA has grown so substantially, that the mayor declared a state of emergency. In November, voting citizens approved a $1.2 Billion bond to build 10,000 apartments to help house the chronically homeless over the next ten years. At this time, an estimated 50,000 people sleep on the streets every night.  Homes for Hope is trying to reduce that number.

Homes for Hope is the final project of the Homeless Studio class taught at the University of Southern California.  After studying the Skid Row Housing Trust and the city of Los Angeles planning department, and interviewing anti-homelessness activists, the students developed a full prototype.  The result is a 92-square foot housing unit with two windows and a door, plus a raised foundation so the occupants do not feel like they are sleeping on the ground.  The units are portable, modular, and can be constructed in about two weeks. 

Los Angeles building and zoning codes are especially stringent because of the risk of earthquake.  Development projects, like apartment units, can take many years to acquire permits and break ground.  Since there will be a delay in building permanent housing, the Homes for Hope housing unit can help alleviate homelessness now.  

Nonprofit organization Hope of the Valley has invested in the Homes for Hope housing unit with the goal of building a facility geared toward homeless women over the age of 55.  Hope of the Valley has opened eight facilities, including a $4.3 Million recuperative care shelter, in the past seven years.

"What I love about it is it’s almost genius in its temporariness," Anne Dobson, director of philanthropy and communications at the Skid Row Housing Trust, said. "They can be set up as they're needed, and then disassembled and set up elsewhere."  Homes for Hope may not be the permanent answer to housing the homeless of Los Angeles, but it is a step in the right direction. 


Sources: Fast Company

Shelley McClure

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Shelley McClure

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