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News - 10.10.22
WSFSSH At West 108 Final Image Update

World Homeless Day

Today, October 10, marks World Homeless Day. World Homeless Day has been observed internationally—across several different countries—since its inception in 2010. The purpose is to draw attention to the needs of the people who experience homelessness locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage afforded by an ‘international day’ to advocate for an end to homelessness through improved policy and funding.

There is a local and national homelessness crisis that continues to grow. At Dattner Architects, we have sought out ways to contribute as design professionals in this urgent effort to meet the housing crisis. As individuals and through our work as a firm, we have increased our active participation on Community Boards, zoning, code committees, and architectural review boards; we have undertaken, on behalf of our clients, more and more large-scale rezoning efforts to add more affordable housing; and we have deepened our formal commitment to consider how our projects engage both the population served, and the community in which they are sited.

Healthy, sustainable, and affordable housing is a critical focus for our firm. Dattner Architects believes that the solution to the housing affordability crisis is through providing varied layers of housing and programming developed to help the most vulnerable members of society. We are proud to be designing such projects: shelter housing, transitional housing, supportive housing, and permanent affordable housing.

We believe that housing in service to vulnerable populations goes beyond mere provision for shelter. We support our clients by integrating supportive program components into our transitional, supportive, shelter, and affordable housing projects:

At Allie’s Place Family Residence, a 99-unit transitional housing project for formerly homeless families, we collaborated with our client to integrate a culinary vocational program into the heart of the facility; not only providing residents with job training skills, but the self-confidence to support their exit from the cycle of homelessness.

At our purpose-built shelter projects, we worked with our clients to incorporate public-facing medical clinics in service to both the shelter residents and the community-at-large.

At our recently completed Chestnut Commons mixed-use Passive House project, we are proud that 55 of our 275 permanently affordable housing units have been set aside for formerly homeless households. And within the Community Center at the base of the project, in addition to other program in support of the local community, a homeless services provider will provide support for these households.

At our Nevins Street Apartments project, this reinvigorated building features 129 permanently affordable units, with 78 units reserved for formerly homeless individuals, including formerly homeless veterans, individuals with histories of substance use, and people with serious mental health concerns, including young adults who have aged out of foster care. On-site supportive services are included in the project providing case management and mental health services, designed to address the holistic health of residents.

Our Cooper Gardens affordable and supportive housing project features 181 permanently affordable apartments, with 95 supportive units set aside for formerly homeless New Yorkers. The base of the building features a local pharmacy, an Ambulatory Care Center and a Mind-Body Center that is equipped with indoor and outdoor fitness areas and a teaching kitchen.

And at our WSFSSH at West 108 shelter and supportive housing project, 119 permanently supportive housing units, 80 affordable family units, and a 110-bed transitional shelter address the varied facets of the housing affordability issue. On-site supportive services are provided that include case management, crisis intervention counseling, and medication and nutrition services.

At Dattner Architects, we strive to find ways for our projects to function as community resource centers, integrating themselves into the existing community. We believe that housing design for a just and equitable city incorporates projects that are well-designed, sustainable, resilient, and supportive of the communities and populations they serve.

In recognizing that the ability to intervene within the homelessness crisis is only possible through many scales of sustained, collective, and incremental efforts, we encourage all to become engaged at the local level in this critical, humanitarian issue. Between a call to attention, action, and continued advocacy across a range of capacities, we can hope to make a difference. A few suggestions where such efforts can be directly engaged:

  • Community Boards are presently formulating their FY 2024 Budget Priorities. Sign up to attend your October Community Board meeting to advocate that affordable and supportive housing be included in your community’s Capital Budget priorities, and that funding for homeless and supportive housing services be included as Expense Budget priorities.
  • Contact your elected representatives and request their advocacy on behalf of these issues within your community.
  • Support your local homeless services street outreach provider through volunteering and/or donating.
  • Utilize your voice on social media platforms to advocate on behalf of, and educate peers to, local homelessness issues.
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