In you’re from the Los Angeles area, you know that homelessness is a pervasive problem and a rapidly growing public health crisis. Since we are in the luxury business of designing peoples’ homes we feel a responsibility and a privilege to be able to give back to the community in anyway we can. We have made it our mission at Lori Dennis Inc. to end homelessness in the United States within our lifetimes. Ambitious? Of course! But we believe it is very possible. Here are 5 ways we can do that through community action and for us, doing what we do best, design.

1. Ending Homelessness with Furniture

Last year we partnered up with an incredible organization based here in Los Angeles, Pen & Napkin. Their mission it is to furnish and decorate the homes for families transitioning out of homelessness. Here is why that is so important: The recidivism rate of people returning to homelessness is nearly 50% and when you furnish their new homes, that rate goes down to 1%. That’s right– 1%. This isn’t just about picking out cute things and making people feel good for a minute. These staggering statistics illustrate the power of simple material items, the impact our environments have on us, and the pride people take in ownership of their properties. The same thing motivating people to hire an interior designer can also keep people off the street. If you’re interested in ways to get involved with Pen & Napkin, visit them online here.

pen and napkin how to end homelessness through design

Lori Dennis will be talking more about ending homelessness on the TedX stage in Santa Barbara this November. Find out more about the event here.

2. Thrifting to End Homelessness

Housing Works is another incredible organization with close links to the design industry. Their mission is to put an end to homelessness and HIV/AIDs by providing healthcare, housing, legal services, and job training programs to those in need. Every year in New York City and Miami they host extravagant fundraisers in which interior designers curate vignette spaces full of decor and furnishings for sale. The proceeds benefit Housing Works. But their efforts aren’t limited to big-ticket galas – year round you can shop Housing Works stores and donate your own second-hand clothing, books, and furnishings to them. Learn more about Housing Works online.

3.  Ending Homelessness with Building Facades

There is no doubt that the NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude persists throughout wealthier areas in America. It is, of course, understandable where that attitude comes from. But it is also undeniably linked to the growing rate of poverty and homelessness. Architects in new York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in Miami are actively working to put a stop to homelessness, by designing the facades of buildings to look just as nice as everything around them. The principle is that they’re designing permanent supporting housing that looks beautiful enough to win over skeptical neighbors. And so far the success of these buildings has been wonderful. Not to mention, that the costs of these housing situations, though they may look expensive, cost ⅕ the rate of caring for people when they are on the street. Learn more about these projects by watching this PBS special:

4. Mad Design Solutions to Combat Homelessness

The MAD Workshop, aka The Martin Architecture and Design Workshop founded an architecture program at USC to combat homelessness through creative building solutions. One of their solutions was the Homes for Hope program which designed modular permanent housing solutions at low cost that could be broken down, moved, and reassembled easily. Learn more about their programs and how you can get involved here.

MADWORKSHOP Homeless Studio from MADWORKSHOP on Vimeo.

5. End Homelessness with 3D Printed Homes

The technology isn’t quite perfect yet to be utilized on a massive scale, but it’s getting there! Icon 3D printing technology has partnered up with Architectural Digest to 3D print 800 square foot homes for communities in haiti. They debuted their technology in Texas where they were able to print a home in under 24 hours, for under $4000. Now that’s progress! Learn more about them here.

America’s first 3D-printed homes for the homeless in Texas

Don’t Slap a Band Aid on a Bullet Wound…

As you might have noticed, all of these solutions involve design thinking and are focused on long-term and permanent solutions. Our principal designer, Lori Dennis will be speaking about more innovative solutions for ending homeless through design at TedX stage in Santa Barbara this November.