In the United States, the homeless population is on any given night to be 744,313 (HUD). In Buffalo, on any given night there is an estimated 2,100 homeless individuals or families who are homeless. It is estimated that the chronically homeless represents 18% of the homeless and women represent about 48% of the homeless. Based on these numbers and percentages, chronically homeless women account for approximately 180 homeless in Buffalo.
Based on a 10 year research project performed by Elliott Liebow which was turned into the book “Tell Them Who I am: the Lives of Homeless Women”, chronically homeless women have unique needs different from chronically homeless men. While men may do well in a dormitory setting, women do very poorly in this setting, and do not respond well to institutional controls. In fact, a study by Novac, Brown and Gallant report that there is a direct relationship between homeless women and the physical and sexual abuse that homeless women have experienced in their lives.
Liebow’s study reveals that women, particularly chronically homeless women, do poorly living in an environment with tight institutional controls. Instead a home-like setting where they have their own personal space is vital to the success of a program. While Liebow’s study focused on shelters, we may glean philosophical aspects when designing the program for this permanent supportive housing program.
Our research on best practice models will continue around program design, however we have an ideal vision of how we would like to see the structure of the building. The building would be a two-story structure built around a central therapeutic courtyard.
The first floor houses offices, a kitchen/dining room large enough for 20 individuals, a laundry room, art studio, community living room, computer lab/library and a conference room and a small private office (for counseling clients) and five studio apartments.
The second floor will have fifteen studio apartments. There will be two staircases and one elevator. Each apartment will have a small bedroom area, living area, small in room kitchenette and bathroom.
The Matt Urban Center worked with Laurie Hauer-LaDuca (Architect), Savarino Companies(Construction Manager), and Janet Meiselman, of Oxford Consulting, to submit grant applications to build this apartment building for homeless women in East Buffalo.
The Lt. Col Matt Urban Human Services Center of W.N.Y. 1081 Broadway Buffalo, N.Y. 14212 Phone 716.893.7222 Fax 716.893.3279 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A multi-purpose not-for-profit agency committed to providing programs that revitalize neighborhoods, serve families and change lives.