Lessons from Completed Projects


The purpose of Design Resources for Homelessness case studies is to inform readers of innovations and lessons learned so that progress can be made in providing healing environments for those in crisis. They are intended for architects, interior designers, organizations renovating or constructing new environments, researchers, teachers and students. These case studies are intended to serve as a supplement to visits to nearby similar projects, broadening knowledge of best practices that informs programming approaches and priorities.

These case studies focus on the lived experience of persons that inhabit the environment, with the intent of featuring those aspects of the architecture that accommodate users’ and staff’s needs and influence people’s perceptions and recovery. The case studies emphasize interior and nearby-external areas of the project with an eye toward the personal level of architectural experience.

With the lived experience in mind, these case studies communicate these environments as they are, with minimal aesthetic staging of its attendant photographs. Instead, these reports seek to communicate ways in which the reality of these architectural spaces support dignity, self-esteem, empowerment, privacy, personal control, and assist in stress management and general recovery.


Sometimes making the lived experience of a space more effective has less to do with large, expensive architectural gestures and more to do with understanding and accommodating the day-to-day routine needs of persons that are recovering from homelessness. Great Ideas are small, local enhancements and affordances observed in built environments across the United States that attend to their populations well.

They are included here as potential inclusions in new projects, as proven features that can make a difference for someone experiencing a life crisis.

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Contextual Art

Great Ideas

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Balance of Yes and No

Great Ideas

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Best Practices

Great Ideas

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Sofas as Beds

Great Ideas

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Stop/Go Signs

Great Ideas

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Yes/No Mail

Great Ideas