This project aims to provide aid to Hawaii’s homeless population. Over 5,000 people are currently homeless on Oahu, and the number has continued to grow each year, resulting in Hawaii having the nation’s largest homeless population per capita. Currently, homeless shelters such as IHS do exist, however there is simply not enough space to house the majority of the homeless people living here. Many people are not simply out of a job, but are in fact working full time. The cost of living in Hawaii is so high that many families are not able to afford rent, even with two working parents. The proposed housing development would consist of multiple units that comprise an apartment complex that would provide shelter to those waiting for available low-income housing, or those who have been turned away from pre-existing shelters due to lack of space.
Hawaii’s weather is very humid, so the complex would need to use a material that allows for ventilation and doesn’t trap heat inside. Building materials would need to be relatively inexpensive, considering that there would need to be a considerable amount of these units being built in order to minimize the homeless population on the streets. A large space is also needed for this project, since privacy is something many homeless people don’t get if they are sleeping in shelters or on the streets.
I found multiple structures that use shipping containers as their primary structural component and used them as my main inspiration. I found both architectural renderings as well as already constructed, fully functional buildings and used these designs to help me piece together my own.
In order to get a better idea of what homeless communities in Hawaii really need, I interviewed Linda Kawano-Ching, an educator at Punahou School who is very active in terms of volunteering in these communities.
Audio file of the full interview: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AiibAxPzELol_J_GgfzE6U831I5OG4tt/view?usp=sharing
Summary of the interview:
Mrs. Kawano-Ching is an educator at my school who is very active in the homeless community, and volunteers regularly at a number of homeless encampments around the island. She gave me an idea of the biggest communities and their needs, as well as the housing they already have access to. I learned that creating a sense of community is the most important thing when designing a housing complex for a homeless community, and keeping in mind the specific needs of each community could make a big difference in terms of who ends up actually utilizing the structure. She also explained the outreach programs she is involved with and how they benefit the community.
Location :64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786
This location is a large stretch of agricultural lands that are currently for sale. It is a rural area that is about 2 miles away on either side from the two nearest towns. This location is very close to a well-known and quite large homeless encampment which is located alongside the Helemano Reservoir. It is walking distance from both both the encampment and the nearby towns, making an ideal location for both convenience and possible rehabilitation and employment opportunities.