“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” Mother Teresa
Addressing homelessness today is more than just giving people a place of their own. It is providing a space for an individual to be who they are and a place in which to identify. Everyone has their own story and point of view. We wanted to express that everyone is someone unique and more than just a number on some survey. Not that numbers are without importance, especially to people trying to better themselves. The ADDR3SS offers durable, permanent, and ADA accessible single-occupant dwellings to the chronically homeless and unfortunate. Being situated downtown optimizes access to support services and public transit, giving people facing the hardest challenges as much support and advantage as possible. The ADDR3SS is within walking distance of social programs, parks, and the public library, with services and amenities like personal and community vegetable gardens, internet access, and semi-private and public social spaces.
With all the challenges facing these individuals, who being unable to complete a job application for lack of an address, was something that we thought could be remedied and empowering. The truth is that here at The ADDR3SS you are not just another number, you are John from 203 or Susan from 304, but most importantly you are home.
Locally, there are approximately 2,430 individuals in general homelessness with 650 of those being chronically homeless (nearly 3 times the national average). The social and financial costs are great. For example, the Birmingham Plan to Prevent and End Chronic Homelessness shares the story of one chronically homeless Birmingham man with heart failure and mental illness, who has suffered 44 preventable hospital stays and 36 emergency room visits during a 4 year period. During this time he accrued $334,275 in hospital charges, a cost absorbed entirely by local taxpayers. One thought that kept being restated through numerous interviews with top individuals leading the push for ending homelessness in our region: if there were single occupant homes with a combined monthly cost of $100 for rent and utilities an individual’s chances of relapsing into homelessness dramatically decreased. So that became the dollar mark for the project. Through further research, it was concluded that shipping containers were a viable solution for this project.
Merit Award, AIA Birmingham Chapter