Yale Students Build Affordable Housing for the Homeless

Design and advocacy go hand in hand. There are many ways that design proves itself to be beyond aesthetics; it targets sustainability, promotes awareness, juggles being eco-friendly and multi-functional, and generally allows for an explosion of ideas. And sometimes, it doesn’t just save the planet. It saves the people in it, too. Witnessing to that are some great projects such as these portable origami tents or this efficient flooring system, especially built for refugees and the homeless.

Architecture students from Yale have worked on the same advocacy as they designed and built an affordable shelter for homeless people. The affordable housing project is part of an ongoing university tradition.

The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage.

Every year, the university tasks first-year architecture students to design and build structures that will benefit the community. The tradition has apparently been going on since 1967. For the project’s 50th iteration in 2017, some students that participated in the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project chose to explore cost-efficient and flexible design in giving affordable housing to those who need it the most. They executed their plans and successfully constructed the building at New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood.

The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House, an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982.

If all school projects had this much impact and advocated this strongly for the betterment of the community, I probably would’ve been more motivated to get that A.

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San Diego Assists 1,000 Homeless Veterans

Homelessness continues to be a pressing issue across the globe. At least 100 million people live off the streets, but good samaritans are doing what they can to help. Australian charity Every Little Bit Helps donates unused hotel toiletries to shelters. Studio Elmo Vemijs in the Netherlands recently erected a solar-powered village for transients. A blockchain program will be used by Austin to provide identity services to the homeless.  To top it off, Housing Our Heroes in San Diego has successfully placed 1,007 veterans in rental homes.

Three large industrial tent structures that will shelter about 250 homeless people each are planned to be installed by the end of the year, and on Monday a city-sanctioned homeless encampment will open to about 200 people in response to a hepatitis A outbreak.

Among the 9,116 homeless veterans in the county, 5,619 are in San Diego. Housing Our Heroes hopes to assist another thousand veterans in the next 15 months. In regards to apartments, HOH offers incentives to various landlords. However, proprietor Jimmie Robinson says providing a space is not about the money.

“When you get to meet them, the satisfaction of helping people turn their lives around was more important,” he said. “When you see somebody rebuilding their lives, that’s what it’s become for me, more than than the incentives.”

Hopefully, in the coming years, we’ll get to greet all homeless veterans with a warm welcome home.

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3D-Printed House Is Affordable And Easy To Build

Who needs retail therapy when you have 3D printing? From furniture to electronics, the process has surpassed its own limits in just a few years. Now that brain tissue and functioning ears are part of 3D-printing catalogues, why not up the grandeur? Thanks to startup ICON, it’s totally possible to zap a 650 square foot home into existence in just under 24 hours.

“We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” [says] Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story.

“It’s much cheaper than the typical American home,” [founder Jason] Ballard says.

ICON spends a modest $10,000 printing a single home, and aims to lower costs down to $4,000. The Austin-based group will initially bring houses into El Salvador and eventually the Americas. The modern huts will slash labor costs and produce minimal waste.

“(ICON) believes, as do I, that 3D printing is going to be a method for all kinds of housing,” [co-founder Alexandria Lafci] says.

If ICON can come up with affordable space habitats, I’d be the first off the planet.

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Swiss Town To Pay Families £50,000 To Move In

In a new age of technology, tradition is becoming outdated. Still, small, independent groups are attempting to keep bits of history alive. Just recently, students from a Hong Kong university paid tribute to bamboo weaving in Peitian. The project proved impactful but modest, whereas other communities are taking a more urgent approach. To keep afloat, the Swiss village of Albinen is offering potential residents up to £50,000 to migrate in.

The council will soon be voting on the new initiative, which aims to repopulate a community that has dwindled to just 240 residents.

Like with all attractive propositions, the move comes with a catch — several of them. Takers must be below the age of 45 and live in a 200,000-franc residence for at least 10 years. You’ll also need to learn German. And while you may still be salivating over the promise of a hefty check, there is little to do in Albinen.

There’s little going on in the town’s centre, save for its narrow cobbled turns, centuries-old houses, a church and a shop.

That being said, with good company and a zest for the outdoors, Albinen may be the place for you.

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L.A. Parking Meter Collects Charity Donations

Charity vending machines in Nottingham and Salt Lake are indubitably the beginning of a giving revolution. Now that consumers can donate food, clothing, and even cattle with the push of a button, the trend is taking flight in various other forms. Plagued by homelessness, Los Angeles is giving back to its transients via charity meters.

All six of the meters will be located in Downtown Los Angeles, and revenue will go toward the Skid Row-based C3 program, a cooperation between the city, county, and local service providers that provides outreach to homeless residents and helps them find housing.

Sure, parking meters aren’t a particularly welcoming machine, but the principle behind these ones is. Alongside cash donations, sponsors will also generate as much as $3,500 a year.

The meters look similar to ones already up-and-running in Pasadena: virtually identical to a run-of-the-mill parking meter, but colored bright orange and set back from the street to avoid confusion about their purpose. Donations can be made using both coins and credit cards.

The machines, sporting a bright yellow smiling emoji help donors avoid panhandling. With four more yet to rise across the city, hopefully other states catch onto the meter fever.

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