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Nominee #2: Block House, Solving Homlessness

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Nominee for the U.S. Green Building Council's 2019 Malcolm Lewis IMPACT! Award.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Nominee #2: Block House, Solving Homlessness

  1. 1. The BLOCK Project What is it? Our vision is to help end homelessness by building a small home (BLOCK Home) for someone in need on every residential block in Seattle. Through this we hope to enhance relationships and create thriving communities that come together to support one another. The Team The BLOCK Project is supported, funded, and built by community. There are thousands of volunteers that have given their time to this project since it’s launch in 2017. From building homes to donating lunches, computing energy modeling to hosting a BLOCK Home in their backayrd, the BLOCK Project creates a pathway for everyone to get involved in ending homelessness. About Us We are a Seattle based project and run by the non-profit Facing Homelessness. At the end of 2019 there will be nine BLOCK Homes complete and thousands of lives touched.
  2. 2. row 1 left: BLOCK Home 0002, with resident C’zar watering his garden. middle: BLOCK Home 0001 under construction. right: BLOCK Home 0001 completed. row 2 left: BLOCK Home 0007 under construction. middle: BLOCK Home 0009 under construction. right: BLOCK Home 0002 under construction. row 3 left: BLOCK Home 0006 under construction middle: BLOCK Home 0004 getting craned into a backyard. right: BLOCK Home 0005 near completion. BLOCK Homes are 125 square foot Detached Accessory Dwelling Units. They are fully functioning units, including a kitchenette and bathroom with running water, heat, sleeping and sitting area, storage, and a covered front porch. BLOCK Homes
  3. 3. Each BLOCK Home has drawn countless helpers, from contractors and material suppliers, to landscape architects and corporate companies donating time to help prepare a backyard for construction. Behind the scenes are volunteer lawyers, engineers, architects, and case-management agencies to name a few. While the list continues to grow, here are a few notable partners of The BLOCK Project: Chief Seattle Club, Community Psychiatric Clinic, Mary’s Place, Davis Wright Tremaine, Allen Law Group, Suzanne Skinner, Columbia Legal Services, Turner Construction Company, Karlstrom Associates, Schultz Miller, Gradwohl Construction, Molior, Oliver & Blue Construction, Nexus, FSi Consulting Engineers, International Living Future Institute, The Miller Hull Partnership, Nexus, Herrera Environmental Consultants, Swenson Say Fagét, Premier Mechanical, Level 5 Inc, Diamond Pier, Contemporary Cabinets, David McGeoy Furniture, Weatherholt, Prime Electric, Tughan Electric, Cascade Integration West Seattle Natural Energy, Sphere Solar, Northwest Electric & Solar, JH Kelly, Best Plumbing, Evolved Structures, Gardenstone Masonry, Quercus Landscapes Inc Top Line Counters, Architectural Coatings, Mantis Manufacturing, Pacific Sheet Metal, D4 Sheet Metal, Precision Metal Fabricators, Allworth Design, GGN, MITHUN, City Wide Fence Co., The Bartlett Tree Experts, POSSIBLE, Blake Roberts Design, The Cloud Room, Lumafox Creative, MyPad3D & MXTreality, Visual Quartet, Don Jensen Video, ARC Reprographics Smartsheet, Timecounts, Gray Magazine, Flatstick Pub, Gather Seattle Eden Photography, Windermere, Zillow, Amazon Home Entertainment Team, Katerra, CWS Apartments, Koru, Microsoft, Likelihood, Cafe Allegro, Architects Without Borders, Plumbers Without Borders, AIA Committee on Homelessness, Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, Seattle and King County Public Health Department, Seattle City Councilmember Bagshaw’s Office, The Bullitt Foundation, Tableau, Pearl Jam, Dowbuilt, Karlstrom Associates, Dovetail, Lockhart Suver, Method Construction, Toth Construction, Krekow Jennings, Roberts Group, Skanksa, Marinakos, Plywood Supply, Issaquah Cedar and Lumber, Northwest Custom Interiors, Calportland, Goldfinch Brothers, Distinctive Glass, Second Use, Euroclime, Eastside Insulation, Superior Insulation, L&B Nurseries, Oxbow, D4 Sheet Metal, Mighty Energy Solutions and Ducoterra, American Standard, Lark, Tom Douglas, Stockbox, Seattle Cider, Two Beers, University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle Central College... Built by Community
  4. 4. Sustainability Focused BLOCK Homes are designed to achieve the highest standard for sustainability in the built environment (Living Building Challenge). The buildings will“give more than they take,” creating a positive impact on human and natural systems. This shifts the paradigm on homelessness, which people often see as a burden on the community and environment. Sustainable Partnerships Sustainability is a cornerstone of The BLOCK Project, which is why we feel so fortunate to have world-renowned partners including International Living Future Institute, The Miller Hull Partnership, Herrera Environmental Consultants, the Bullitt Foundation, and Architectural Nexus. Biophilic Charrette As part of obtaining Living Building Challenge, The BLOCK Project team convened 25 stakeholders (Residents, Hosts, engineers, city officials, and sustainability experts) to brainstorm about how the BLOCK Home could be enhanced by biophilic design. The group looked at the history, ecology, and context of Seattle, and brainstormed ways for the BLOCK Home to be more harmonious with its site and engaging for its users. The Charrette was extremely successful and produced a number of ideas that have been incorporated into the BLOCK Homes design. Off-grid Workshops The closer we come to something and the more we understand, the more we value it. The BLOCK Project wants to provide a little learning center for sustainability on each block in the City. Each home is designed with a small footprint, energy efficient structure, uses healthy and renewable materials, and has the goal of being net-positve with energy and water! The design team has been working with local jurisdictions and some of the best environmental engineers in the country to showcase how innovative systems can be used and in turn, teach our communities about our invaluable resources.
  5. 5. Grassroots Powered The BLOCK Project is a grassroots initiative, and its success and growth hinges on the community’s awareness, engagement, and continued support. Therefore, consistent and captivating public outreach is critical. Time is spent hitting the pavement, doing things like putting up posters in coffeeshops, handing out yard signs to neighbors, or giving talks at local community centers. How do you use your backyard? gardening lawn games storage pool helping end homelessness
  6. 6. Pacific Science Center The BLOCK Project believes that in order to make true change, we must engage and educate future generations. The Pacific Science Center gave us a beautiful opportunity to share our story and dreams with a younger audience; showcasing a full-scale BLOCK Home, a video about Living Building Challenge, and stories and displays about those living homeless in our community. All of this centered around how one person can inspire large change through innovation! Learning as we go Host Orientation BLOCK Home Version 1.1 In June 2019 we designed and facilitated our first annual BLOCK Host Training, where all current and future Hosts gathered to form a powerful community and learn more about what this journey entails. Educational topics included: Trauma-informed care, nonviolent communication, mental health, cultural humility, and compassionate boundaries. This was also a great opporunity for existing hosts to share stories and experiences. Nearing the completion of the first nine BLOCK Homes, and with a Workshop space on the horizon, the design team decided to reevaluate design. In an effort to bring many of great minds to this redesign, BLOCK Architects facilutated a charrette for 22 designers, contractors, engineers, assembly-line designers, industrial designers, weatherproofing consultants, and sustainability experts. Dozens of great ideas came from the four-hour meeting, ultimately guiding the BLOCK Home Version 1.1 design set to launch in 2020. This project has a clear vision, but it also has lots of room to learn and grow. Everyone is invited to make this project and our city a better place, which is why The BLOCK Project seeks out opportunities like working with the local schools, hosting charrettes, and sitting on public panels. A few of our these events are listed below:
  7. 7. Together, we can end homelessness.

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