A Stepping-Stone to Home: Designing a Facility for Homeless Families

America might be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but homelessness remains a pervasive, heartbreaking problem in towns and cities from coast to coast. That’s why the SHP team jumped at the chance to help solve this crisis in a small way by designing a brand-new emergency shelter and support services center for Bethany House Services in Cincinnati, an organization that aims to empower homeless and at-risk families with solutions to achieve housing stability and long-term self-sufficiency.

Bethany House provides invaluable services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness and has been a critical resource to the community since it opened its doors in 1983. Unfortunately, the organization has been held back from its fullest potential due to the state of its facilities. Until recently, families and services were scattered among seven buildings, including five shelters. Repurposed from their original uses, these spaces were ill-suited to the specific needs of Bethany House and complicated an already daunting portfolio of challenges, requiring that staff travel among the facilities and forcing families to navigate an extra layer of complexity.

These conditions were more than inconvenient: they were also costly, time-consuming and created unequal access to programs for families in need. That’s why, following a successful capital campaign to find the building of a new shelter and services center, Bethany House turned to SHP for the planning and design of a new 58,978sf facility.

Using trauma-informed design techniques and recognizing the unique needs of residents and Bethany House staff alike, our team was able to deliver a beautiful, comfortable and functional space that acts as a “stepping stone” for homeless families to get back on their feet and into a home of their own.

Learn more about how our team transformed this space in our latest case study, A Stepping-Stone to Home: Designing a Facility for Homeless Families.