Homeless shelter

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    Trace One

    Fresno State is woking on a ‘revolutionary’ design that creates homeless shelters with, once again, the homeless getting teeny sub-standard wooden boxes to live in (10×12 sheds). there is solar panels for electricity – ..


    I am sure we can do better than that..In our office, one guy thought about some system of canvas, on lines, so spaces could be shifted, and be open and shut..

    My pet idea is to transform the shopping cart, so it blossoms out at night into a tent, which can be folded into the cart for movability during the day, the park should include extensive paths, for daily travel, open sources of water..Plus an outbuilding that is of course the local agency in charge – assuming our society will have any social services left..


    Anybody else thinking about the homeless, ‘out of the box..’


    Why not just hand out nylon tents if we’re going to build wooden sheds? Sounds like we’re re-inventing the wheel errmm..tent here.

    Is 10×12 really substandard? http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

    Trace One

    Ha! I like that, Nick! I lived in a 600 sq. ft. house once, with two huge dogs ..That was a nice size..I agee with you, there..It just seems like a terrible idea for a homeless person..They don’t like permanence..At least I didn’t when I was homeless, and living in a paper bag in the middle of a road.


    Brian Hochstein

    Shipping containers, off of the ground with a simple foundation, oriented to keep air moving or be closed from elements. Create various uses, sleeping quarters, restrooms, kitchens. Power with renewables.

    The problem with this idea? Too permanent. It would take an accepting population and help from the community. But a metal shipping container beats a wooden box any day.


    Honestly, I think the best solution is public space..I mean ‘good’ public space with, like, trees and stuff. But really, just providing space I would think could be enough if it provides some shelter and habitat for everyone which is what parks used to do I think.


    wow, really frustrated with lost reponses here…smart response gone forever.

    anyway, I was reminded of my trip on the appalachian trail last summer. I walked about 40 milesover about a week across new hampshires white mountains. The interesting thing about the AT is the campsites. I slept in the backcountry most nights, but I also stayed at several established backcountry tent sites.

    The lean-tos are very interesting–just a roof and three walls fashioned out of local timber and corrugated steel. Then there are also tent ‘platforms on sensitive vegetation areas and composting toilets (outhouses).

    I’m sure there would be much opportunity to incorporate some of these ideas in a typical city park but someone would almost certainly deem them ‘public hazard’..The key on the AT wasn’t necessarily comfort, but lightness and mobility.

    Trace One

    I like the platforms, nick..and I certainly envy you the hike..

    ..As esoteric as this topic seems, my city actually spent money on a 1 acre property with sheds, for the homeless..Our tax dollars at work..


    In my opinion that is a xenophobic response to a population of people ‘we’ don’t try to understand, just make look like ‘normal.’

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Check out http://designlikeyougiveadamn.architectureforhumanity.org/. The book and organization focus primarily on architecture for disaster relief, but I think a lot of the ideas/solutions could be applied to homelessness in America.

    Trace One

    Cool, Wyatt….I’ve read about that before, but forgot about it – on the Buy list, next paycheck!

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    It’s an interesting read, for sure. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Cameron Sinclair (co-founder of Architecture for Humanity) speak, I would definitely recommend it.

    Bob Luther

    The tent idea is a real solution where my parents live on the west shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Here is an article you may like…

    THE NEW YORK TIMES December 5, 2006 By JANIS L. MAGIN

    When the home she had rented for 30 years for $300 a month was sold, Alice Greenwood and her 6-year-old son joined an estimated 1,000 people living in tents along the 13 miles of beaches on the Waianae Coast of Oahu.

    “There was no choice but to come on the beach,” said Ms. Greenwood, 60, who is disabled because of a work-related injury eight years ago and lost her benefits a month before losing her home.

    Homelessness in Hawaii has become so pervasive that the governor has assigned a state employee to work full time at getting people off the beaches and into transitional housing. Once there, they have access to rent assistance programs and low-income housing.

    While hundreds of homeless people live on Honolulu’s beaches, including the tourist center Waikiki, it is the Waianae Coast on the semiarid west shore where the problem is most visible. The population of Waianae, home to about 40,000 of Oahu’s 900,000 people, is predominantly native Hawaiian and is historically low income.

    Hawaii’s economy has been strong in the last two years, and the state consistently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The real estate market has skyrocketed along with the job growth, and houses on the Waianae Coast that rented for $200 or $300 a month a couple of years ago are now advertised for more than $1,000.

    Nobody knows exactly how many people are living on the beach. Kaulana Park, the state’s point man for the homeless, estimated that more than 1,000 people lived on the Waianae Coast beaches, but he cautioned that any count was good only on the day it was taken. And that estimate does not account for the hidden homeless: people who sleep on a relative’s sofa, or in their cars, or camp in areas not as visible as the public beaches.

    Many living on the beach have jobs, mostly in the service and construction sectors. They include families with children, who attend public schools by day and sleep in tents on the beach at night.

    Venise Lewis, 35, who lives near Ms. Greenwood at Maili Beach Park with her husband and two of their four children, said her daughters, ages 8 and 10, must finish their homework in the afternoon because there was no lighting at the beach after sunset.

    Ms. Lewis’s oldest daughter lives with a grandmother, and her son lives with the family’s pastor.

    “They don’t like the idea of living on the beach,” she said of her younger children. “Usually when we go camping, we go home if it rains.”

    The homeless problem in Hawaii came to light in March, when the City and County of Honolulu began a cleanup of Ala Moana Beach Park, at the entrance to Waikiki, and began closing the park at night in response to complaints.

    Hundreds of homeless people, or “illegal campers,” as the city calls them, moved to an emergency transitional shelter set up by the state in a warehouse close to downtown Honolulu. But some went west, closer to the Waianae Coast communities where they were raised. The city has since conducted similar cleanups at other beaches.

    Lester Chang, the city’s parks and recreation director, said the number of illegal campers made it difficult for his department to keep the parks safe and clean.

    “I think all communities have to deal with this situation, but Hawaii is unique because it’s an island,” Mr. Chang said. “There’s no place to push them off to.”

    Honolulu officials say finding long-term solutions to the homeless problem on Oahu is the state’s responsibility. The city’s housing department was abolished in the late 1990s after a scandal.

    Mr. Park has been talking with New York City officials about how to adapt New York’s solutions to an island state.

    He said he was inspired by a speech last summer by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who told of how the city had secured financing for some 12,000 units of supportive housing, and of the city’s program to help people stay in their homes by interceding with landlords to head off evictions. Hawaii has started a similar program.

    In late October, the state opened a transitional shelter for 30 families, including 90 children, at a converted 1940s military building in Kalaeloa, the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

    On Nov. 18, the state poured the foundation for an emergency transitional shelter in Waianae that will house up to 300 people when it opens early next year. The state is looking at building shelters at eight more sites along the Waianae Coast.

    But Dino Palisbo, who has been living at Maili Beach Park with his girlfriend and their three dogs for about a year, said some people did not want to trade the freedom of the beach for the rules of a transitional shelter. “Half of them can pay rent, but it is so high it is going to take them out of the comfort zone,” Mr. Palisbo said. “When a studio costs $700 or $800, how can a family put four or five kids there?”

    Others, like Ms. Greenwood, did not want to leave their communities for the state’s shelter at Kalaeloa, which is 10 miles from the beach park and several miles from the nearest bus route. She plans to move to the new shelter in Waianae, set to open next spring, because it is closer to her son’s school and her community activities.

    Mr. Park said other homeless people on the beach looked up to Ms. Greenwood, who is a member of the state’s Oahu Island Burial Council, which works to protect ancient Hawaiian remains. A widow, she also has four adult children, but the only daughter who lives nearby has a studio apartment too small for Ms. Greenwood and the boy she adopted, Makalii Hatchie.

    “She takes it upon herself to be somewhat of a leader,” Mr. Park said.

    Ms. Greenwood said she hoped to begin collecting Social Security benefits and settle her workers’ compensation case soon so that she and her son could find a new home.

    “Being homeless is not a crime, it is the fault of the government,” she said. “I can understand when it’s 20, 30 people, but when it hits the thousands. …”

    Trace One

    Wow! Amazing, Bob, thank you! I had no idea how big this problem is..Yeah, I geuss tents are the thing – I still like my shopping cart/pop top tent, but that may works for the crazies pacing the paved streets of Fresno, not for marginalized poverty-stricken people in beautiful Hawaii..

    Trace One

    Here’s the link to Fresno State’s efforts..


    hope that works, if you are interested..

    Bob Luther

    I thought that during Katrina the government should have opend up a couple of closed down military bases which are plug-in cities, once abondoned the only thing prohibiting occupation is a padlock, permission, and power, the rest is there, stores, restaurants, mess halls, mass housing, gas stations, etc. If the government wants to find a place they should look in there back yard. I love the big box store idea, lord knows there are enough of those around to fit a few dozen people! but these (bases or box stores) do not attack the nomadic life style like the shopping cart idea 🙂

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