Housing Solutions for the Homeless


Tony Ureste, Contributor

Throughout the years, homelessness has been a major problem in most urbanized areas of the U.S. Especially in heavily dense cities such as Los Angeles and New York. The people who are considered to be homeless can range anywhere from veterans, kids, and even whole families. In a report to estimate the total overall amount of homeless people throughout the U.S., a study shows that there were over 647 thousand people who considered to be chronically homeless in 2007. However, recent studies have generally trended downward over the last decade. Since 2008, the year HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) began collecting data, homelessness decreased by 15 percent. This number decreases more sub-groups progress over time. Most notably, veteran homelessness has dropped by 38 percent since 2008. Amongst people in families, there has been a 23 percent decrease.

With the decline of homeless, one might question the reasoning behind this. Many sources show that the homelessness rates decline mainly through organizations aimed to help decline the percentage rates of homelessness. Such organizations can receive funds via donations in order to provide shelter and even job opportunities for the homeless, or privately funded organization tasked with the same goal. Some organizations include One-n-Ten, which aim to provide homes for abandoned LGBT youth, and government funded shelters available for anyone.

However there is another concept being proposed nationwide; Modular homes –a type of construction where prefabricated homes are constructed for a massive project– is aiming to find shelter solutions for the chronically homeless. Many organizations, such as KTGY Architecture + Planning and Hope on Alvarado, are rethinking housing solutions for the chronically homeless by installing a series of modular residential projects in Los Angeles. With a basic design and fast installation period, the modules are manufactured off-site then transported to the action plot; all with in a process that takes 2 weeks. Scott Baldridge, the President of Aedis Real Estate Group,stated that: “The partners of  Hope On developments have devoted themselves to perfecting this modular solution because we believe it holds great promise for the housing crisis”. Their current testing project in Los Angeles offers 84 units of studios and one-bedroom apartments. Each apartment is composed of several modules created around a central courtyard, which provides privacy and encouraging safety and a sense of community.

But are all these solutions really helping the homelessness epidemic? In my research, I have found many sources saying that the modular homes may decrease homelessness, but it not only decreases the quality of life in surrounding areas, but it also cause problems for the people within the homes.The same source stated that individual homelessness was kept at a steady rate and many modular homes eventually turn out to be problematic government aid. So in my opinion, these houses do solve the surface problem of homelessness, but it doesn’t really solve anything.