What happens when you combine Silicon Valley’s legendary innovation with one of the most difficult and complex challenges facing California? You get DignityMoves, an organization working to systematically address missing pieces in the current solutions for homelessness.
California’s struggle with homelessness is already significant; 72% of the over 160,000 homeless individuals are unhoused. Upcoming expirations of COVID-19 protections, such as the eviction moratorium and Project Roomkey, will contribute to the crisis. The need for fast intervention is clear.
Dignity Moves addresses homelessness through creating interim housing solutions which take advantage of the unique landscape created by California land use and homelessness policy. They also utilize innovative modular construction, which both reduces cost and dramatically reduces construction timeframes. The average unit of affordable housing can cost around $500,000 and the process from conception to completion takes years. Government budgets are more compatible with long-term, annual funding than one-time, upfront payments. In providing initial funding and leasing units to a municipality or nonprofit organization, DignityMoves opens a wider array of possible sites. By creating semi-permanent installations on land which may only be available for the short term, DignityMoves addresses issues and identifies possibilities which are uniquely present in the moment.
As California works to develop affordable housing and Permanent Supportive housing, exploring ways to provide dignified solutions in the short term is important. DignityMoves sites are specifically designed to address the most common challenges of traditional congregate shelters, making them more inviting and accessible places for the people who need them. DignityMoves facilities and services prioritize the individual.
One of the biggest departures from many standard shelters is that these facilities provide residents a private room. Additionally, these rooms lock, giving residents both privacy and a secure location to store belongings. It also means that residents can, and are encouraged to, bring pets! DignityMoves sites can also address the goals of other neighbors. Creating secure and sanitary sites helps alleviate tensions and concerns around homelessness coming from a variety of neighbors and community members. Sites partner with local organizations which provide regular support on an individual basis from case managers who connect residents to resources and services.
All of us at HAC are wildly inspired by DignityMoves’ inventive and compassionate approach to building and scaling well-designed, high quality interim housing for our unhoused neighbors, and look forward to support their ongoing efforts!