Rex Hohlbein and his daughter, Jenn LaFrenier, are both architects in the Seattle area. In this TEDx video they present a novel approach to reducing homelessness. They suggest that we should “reimagine our personal space by inviting homeless residents to move into beautifully designed, off-grid, homes built in residential backyards.” Called “The Block Project” these tiny homes — built with neighborhood support and community volunteers— provides a path out of homelessness that encourages neighbors to come together as advocates, mentors and friends to those currently living on our streets. Rex started a Facebook page to raise awareness for those living unsheltered through the sharing of photos and personal stories. Today, that Facebook page has over 46,000 followers, becoming a thriving and inspirational non-profit, Facing Homelessness. Rex now combines both architecture and community outreach in starting a social justice architecture firm, BLOCK Architects, with his daughter.
I found this presentation to be quite moving, and convincing that this could actually be a viable option in many communities. You can watch the video at www.youtube.com