Social Impact

Our approach is rooted in research in environmental psychology. The impact that the environment has on our well-being is profound, and harm is caused by poorly designed or hostile environments. The physical design of shelters perpetuates stigma against individuals experiencing homelessness and sends the message that these spaces are what society believes they deserve. Guests are stripped of their dignity and privacy when they are at their most vulnerable and when it should be crucial instead to increase support. In addition to affecting the mental and physical resilience of its staff and guests, poor shelter design can also directly endanger their physical health, as we witnessed through the rapid spread of COVID-19 in homeless shelters across the nation.

We design low-cost nonstructural physical modifications to existing homeless shelter interiors. We take care to ensure that these can be easily fabricated with readily available materials and installed with minimal effort. The behavior, mental wellbeing, and physical health of emergency shelter operators, staff, and guests are inevitably impacted by the design of these spaces. We believe that there will be measurable long-term impacts of improving the physical design of existing emergency shelter spaces. By making small but significant changes to existing shelter spaces, we can positively impact the wellbeing of individuals sleeping in homeless shelters, at very little cost.