Absolutely Stunning Design and Functionality

A non-profit organization offering research-informed practical information about architectural design features that can enhance the experience of clients, staff and others in shelters, supportive housing, day centers and similar projects. Its 300+ pages of content in case studies, user spotlights and other information are produced from donations and consultation fees of DRH with building projects.

Wall with index card affirmations
Resident bathroom. New Genesis Apartments, Los Angeles. Skid Row Housing Trust. Collaborative House LLC, interior design, Killefer Flammang, architect.

More than 500,000 Americans are homeless during any given night of the year, and the number is far greater worldwide. Homelessness is a significant threat to productivity, self-esteem, child wellness, and the human spirit. Built environments where people who have experienced homelessness live, learn and heal are an important, contributory part of recovery from this crisis.

While research-informed information exists that can help shape interior design and architectural decision-making for environments that help these persons, this information is scattered and difficult to find. If gathered in an easily accessible place, curated information from fields such as environmental psychology, biology, neuroscience, interior design, architecture can better inform designers and sponsoring organizations about how to design buildings more effectively so that people feel safe, less crowded, and better about themselves—oftentimes without increased construction costs. This knowledge could support the thoughtful planning of multiple project types including permanent supportive housing/housing first environments, day centers, transitional and emergency shelters. Central to its approach is that multiple perspectives shape its information, including the perspective of those of persons that need assistance.

In this time of persistent debilitating homelessness, and also the growing realization that new approaches to affordable housing are beneficial such as the housing first model of care, is time to gather forces and bring perspectives together that can benefit the future for persons in crisis, and by extension, human society.


Through their support, this free resource can continue to offer and expand its content knowledge without charge to architects and interior designers, researchers, students and policy makers.



  • KFA, LLP    
  • Jamal El Yousef
  • Beau Frail
  • Dan Recht and Elaine Selsberg
  • Everyone who participated in our WhichWich sandwich event!
  • Other kind individuals who prefer to remain anonymous

Please join us! Your donations help us reach our goals to help inform the renovation and design of future built environments serving people who are homeless. You can make your fast and easy donation here.  


Design Resources for Homelessness is a knowledge resource that shares information about practical research, best practices and related content on the design of environments for persons that are homeless. It addresses emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing types, housing first projects, and also day centers, clinics, and service outreach facilities. It is a non-profit initiative funded by donations and grants. Its information is provided without charge.

This curated collection includes best practices case studies, reports on the needs of persons in crisis, and extensive bibliographies of evidence-based, practical information for use in architectural programming. It fills the need to connect the findings of relevant practical research to these ideas’ use within constructed environments. The result can be enhanced recovery for persons afflicted with the trauma of homelessness.

Design Resources for Homelessness provides information to diverse groups:

  • Shelter-sponsoring non-profit organizations
  • Policy-making bodies
  • Building professionals engaged in the design and construction of environments for homeless persons including architects, interior designers and construction engineers
  • Design researchers, educators and students interested in public service design, including the design of environments that serve homeless persons

Design Resources for Homelessness believes that an important part of healing from the crisis of homelessness can be realized through the thoughtful physical design of built environments that assist these persons. Architecture can be a supportive prescription for healing that is best leveraged by bringing research and evidence-informed knowledge to the design of these important places.

The mission of Design Resources for Homelessness is to positively affect the design of environments that assist persons who are homeless or formerly homeless. It does so by connecting design practitioners and scholars, advocacy organizations, policy makers, teachers and students to research and other information as well as each other, to inform design decisions that enhance the potential to assist recovery.

We believe:

  • All persons deserve to be sheltered in humane and supportive physical environments so that they can recover from trauma and resume their lives as full members of the community.
  • Dignity, empowerment, safety, function and economic efficiency can be supported by physical architecture.
  • The free exchange and sharing of knowledge advances societal progress.
  • Generating new knowledge can move design innovation forward to the benefit of all.
compass logo transparent
LVL Up logo

“The creation of a website that creates a centralized source of information on practical design of housing environments for those who are homeless would be of great value to the homeless community and its supporters. Uniting research, reports, case studies, and other helpful assets in one primary location would not only provide a plethora of resources for those looking to provide support to the homeless community but could also help to create new solutions. Besides becoming a key source of information and ideas on sensible housing design, the website can also assist in developing and expanding conversation, communication, and support between homelessness stakeholders.”

National Coalition for the Homeless

Michael Stoops - Director of Community Organizing, National Coalition for the Homeless

“This resource has the opportunity to be a venue for researchers, design professionals, homeless continuums, housing providers, supportive services agencies and other relevant entities to share research, best practices, opinions, resources and perspective related to effectively and efficiently serving the needs of the intended residents or consumers. An easily accessible and user-friendly tool that organizes and centralizes information and resources relevant to the design of housing and services facilities would be a very beneficial resource to not only providers of these resources, but also policymakers and funders. The most significant benefit of this resource would be to help improve the lives of at-risk and homeless persons.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation

Bill Aldinger - Assistant Policy Director/Supportive Housing Coordinator, Florida Housing Finance Corporation

“We constructed a new 36,000 square foot comprehensive emergency service center in 2015. An online resource like this would be an invaluable source of information in our planning and development. I believe other homeless service facilities would greatly benefit from having access to a centralized information source.”

The Shelter (Housing and Supportive Service Provider) Tallahassee, Florida

Jacob Reiter - Executive Director, The Shelter (Housing and Supportive Service Provider) Tallahassee, Florida
Design Resources for Homelessness wishes to thank these organizations for their major funding support
Funded by FSU 1
ASID Foundation Logo