Sheltering U.S. Persons Unsheltered: Creating Legally Conforming, Economically Sustainable Emergency and Transitional Shelter
World Shelters’ mission is to provide temporary and transitional shelter for persons in need, including persons unsheltered in the U.S., a.k.a. “homeless”. We have developed an economically sustainable, jurisdictionally conforming and technically unique design for emergency and transitional shelter that we propose to demonstrate in three jurisdictions in California.
Describe the critical need your solution addresses.
Over 750,000 people in the U.S. are without housing; in California over 170,000. Substantial discrimination against homeless persons prohibits implementation of many shelter programs, especially those intended for the neediest populations. The synergy of civil rights and design science offers a meaningful solution for emergency and transitional shelter by right.
Explain your initiative in more depth and its stage of development.
The opportunity is at hand to create sufficient shelter capacity for all persons unsheltered in every jurisdiction in California with legally conforming and economically self-sustaining programs affordable by those in need. California’s Senate Bill 2 establishes civil rights, zoning and development standards that have not yet been effectively utilized to establish emergency and transitional shelter programs. World Shelters’ initiative establishes successful emergency/transitional shelter demonstration projects in California. This will lead other states, towards replicating the civil rights model of zoning for emergency shelter by right to enable World Shelters and other providers to dramatically increase shelter capacity for persons unsheltered in every community in a legally conforming and economically sustainable manner.
The underlying principles that guide us in this strategy include:
• making each program financially self-sustaining, scalable and replicable;
• integrating and coordinating with local stakeholders;
• working to provide necessary complementary services;
• providing the means for individuals to take steps towards their personal preferred state;
• creating a ramp for our disadvantaged neighbors to step once again into the social and economic milieu.
Initial phases of our model have been proven and replicated at two different scales in two different locales (Ventura and Humboldt County). See http://www.worldshelters.org.
How does your strategy and approach respond creatively and comprehensively to key issues?
“Design science is more than the application of engineering and technology. It is more than a plan or a design. Design science means the total responsibility and capability for development, production, and distribution - of not just a product - but a total service system on a worldwide basis.” -RBF
World Shelters applies Fuller’s overarching principles of design science to create immediately achievable self-sustaining solutions for sheltering persons unsheltered in California and throughout the U.S.
Our strategy is to demonstrate and replicate an emergency/transitional shelter model with adequate capacity for “shelter with dignity and hot showers” integrated with necessary complementary health and social services. This model conforms to each jurisdiction’s zoning, development standards and building codes. The enabling context begins in California with parcels zoned for emergency shelter as a principally permitted use, combined with ultra-low cost shelter affordable on a nightly/weekly/monthly basis by those who need the services. Program design includes partnering with local agencies to provide services that meet the diverse needs of these populations. Economically, the low cost of our unique hard-panel structures offers shelter that residents can afford; also the jurisdiction’s expenses will reduce substantially. Ecologically, U-Dome panels are fully recyclable and each program reduces the environmental impacts of ad hoc encampments. We are certified by Green America’s Green Business Network. ,Technologically, these shelters are uniquely efficient, low-cost, easily built, and portable. They are fire-retardant, with high wind strength and insulation/snow load winterization (http://worldshelters.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/U-Dome200_5mm_Struct...).
This breakthrough strategy leads to the preferred state of having adequate shelter capacity for homeless persons in California and other states. The model redefines the equation of providing shelter programs for U.S. homeless by the synergy of 1) sidestepping the NIMBY’s by being legal and conforming with all jurisdictional requirements while 2) being paid for by the residents who use the services.