'Impactful and beautiful': how US homeless shelters are getting a radical redesign
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: July 10th, 2023
Family Village is not what many people may think of when they envision a homeless shelter: crowded, dingy, maybe dangerous. There are natural bamboo wood floors and walls painted in hues inspired by the ocean – seafoam green, gray and turquoise. Clients can use spacious, multipurpose rooms as they wish, and glass doors allow people to make an informed choice about whether they want to enter that space. The walls are curved, and there's a garden with vegetables and flowers. Severe stress can literally change the brain, affecting memory, coping skills and abilities to regulate emotions. Aware of just how much the physical environment can shape people's lives, more architects are starting to rethink how they design homeless shelters. The goal of trauma-informed design is to help people quiet the part of the brain that stays in survival mode when in a traditional shelter setting. Instead of feeling fearful and on high alert, they can focus on actions like applying for jobs and getting their children to school. The shelter can be what it's suited for: a short-term stopover where people can get back on their feet. A room constructed for family visits can reinforce a sense of community; a personal reading light can promote a sense of autonomy. Some of these discoveries come from ... people who have been residents of shelters. Facilitating effective design requires bringing people who have experienced homelessness and housing instability into the design conversation.
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