Supportive Housing – Helping to Provide Housing for All

As active members of our communities, we recognize the need and importance of providing safe and attainable housing for those experiencing difficulty finding housing. We at SGA | NarmourWright Design value our role in helping to create communities where our neighbors can thrive, and in providing places for all to call home.

Supportive Housing is a type of affordable housing that assists people who face certain challenges such as homelessness, addiction, disability, or a need for emergency housing. Supportive Housing often combines housing with services to support a more stable and secure environment for these residents. Depending on the development, services can range from various types of counseling, budgeting and personal finance, and even legal services.

According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities “Living without stable housing can drastically worsen health. Homelessness can exacerbate mental illness, make ending substance abuse difficult, and prevent chronic physical health conditions from being addressed. [Our] research supports four main conclusions:

  • Supportive housing helps people with disabilities live stably in the community.
  • People with disabilities in supportive housing reduce their use of costly systems, especially emergency health care and corrections.
  • Supportive housing can help people with disabilities receive more appropriate health care and may improve their health.
  • People in others groups, including seniors trying to stay in the community as they age and families trying to keep their children out of foster care, likely also benefit from supportive housing.”*

While this has always been an issue, the need for supportive housing has been highlighted by the current global conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of housing affects people in cities and towns across the US, as well as abroad.

Tyvola Crossing Phase II, Charlotte, NC

There are various forms of architecture that address specific needs of supportive housing, and there are several different and specific regulations for these types of projects above and beyond typical building codes.

For supportive housing apartment communities, design concepts are similar to those of affordable housing, with design for built-in efficiencies, ease of constructability, and durable and easy to maintain material selections. The psychology of color plays more of a role in the interior design of these projects relating to the types of services provided than a standard multi-family housing development.

Emergency shelters are another type of project that sometimes fall under the Supportive Housing umbrella. One of the main goals of these projects is to reduce operating costs for the non-profits that run the shelter and provide the services. While it is often easier to raise money or receive grants for a building itself, the biggest expense of most non-profits is the operating costs of their facilities, as it is not as glamorous to donate to pay the power bill, or pay for upkeep.

SGA | NarmourWright Design is currently working with Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence to design a new double-envelope structure that will approximately double their current service level, both in terms of services provided, and the number of survivors served. Importantly, the organization will also be able to expand child-focused activities from simply “room and board” to tutoring, counseling, and play, where each is appropriate. Common meeting and training spaces will increase the effectiveness of basic financial training, legal assistance, interview skills training and other essential information for survivors who often need to rebuild their family’s lives from the ground up.

The design concept will be a low-maintenance, passive solar, near net-zero energy facility. This will enable reallocation of substantial operating and maintenance costs to increased services in perpetuity. If proven as successful as planned, the facility itself could become a national model for a low-cost provision of such local emergency services, and the design will be open sourced and shared with similar non-profits across the country.

*source: www.cbpp.org/research/housing/supportive-housing-helps-vulnerable-people-live-and-thrive-in-the-community

ABOUT KRISTA

Krista, a principal of the firm with 24 years of experience, handles operations from the day-to-day processes and procedures, production oversight and planning, and IT coordination, as well as ensuring project quality and employee performance are maintained. During her career, she has developed her proficiency in design and construction administration of numerous multifamily, municipal, commercial, higher education, and mixed-use projects.

kkarlson@sganwdesign.com

ABOUT KELLY

Kelly, Associate and Charlotte Office Operations Director, brings over 15 years of experience in building design, project management, and construction management of multifamily, mixed use, and commercial projects. She takes pride in seeing projects through from conception to completion and her strengths are problem solving and delivering the client’s vision. She is also very involved in community outreach, and serves on the Board of Directors of CREW Charlotte.

ksteele@sganwdesign.com