A black and yellow sign.

How do we create Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for the homeless quickly and inexpensively?

Research Project Name

Designing Innovative Solutions for Homelessness

What We Did

We developed a plan to design, develop, and oversee a pre-fabricated, modular approach to house Los Angeles’ homeless population. Our team met and discussed our ideas with stakeholders including permanent supportive housing (PSH) developers, the city, the county, for-profit developers, real estate brokers, PSH operators, non-profit groups focused on homelessness, other architects, and pre-fabrication manufacturers.

We started by focusing on four sites in Lincoln Heights that the City identified for PSH. Our design solution involved pre-fabricated modular units to make the construction of the four buildings faster and more cost effective. The idea of pre-fab construction for multi-family housing was not new, but it catalyzed our thinking for how to house Los Angeles’ 10,000 chronically homeless people.

We knew a one-project-at-a-time approach was inadequate, so we looked to the retail industry for inspiration: in retail architecture no retailer ever wants just one store, they want hundreds. To solve homelessness, we need hundreds of PSH projects. So we conceptualized a PSH approach that would resemble a retail roll-out. Essentially, our system procures all materials in high volumes to realize the cost benefits of economies of scale.

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Rob Jernigan, Audrey Handelman, Christopher Gray, Mina Noorkbakhsh, David O’Brien, Brandon Larcom, Eric Stultz, Allison McElroy, Roger Sherman, Nancy Foster, Russell Baker, Aaron Gensler

Year Completed