How Can We Provide Permanent Supportive Housing For The Homeless in a Practical and Efficient Way?

Permanent Supportive Housing In Calgary, Canada

The Challenge

The issue with homelessness is prevalent in all major cities, Calgary being no exception. With Calgary being such a large city, there is a large homeless population that have various needs and issues. For most, homelessness is not caused by a hard time finding money but rather underlying causes such as drug abuse and metal disabilities/ sicknesses. A supportive community that provides a safe and more personal environment is massively important for many. Despite how important this is for that population, there is a major lack of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) buildings. There are a small amount of organizations and companies trying to create the buildings to address this issue. Due to the often small size of the buildings they make, the wait list to gain access to a PSH building can be as long as 2 years long. In order to address this there needs to be a larger solution that still remains practical as these buildings require large amounts of upkeep.


Needs and Goals

After plenty of research, personal experience volunteering, and interviews with people who work with the PSH buildings, I developed a list of needs and goals that I wanted to build my project around. One of the biggest issues with permanent housing for a large portion of the homeless population is how they handle themselves around others and themselves. It is important to remember that finding money is usually not the reason many people end up homeless. Many of these people have mental health issues causing jobs to be hard to hold onto among other things and deal with substance abuse. A major benefit of these buildings is providing a stable housing so that residents can get and keep jobs to help get them out of poverty if money was an issue. The Goals of these buildings are to provide the homeless people that work better in supportive and more private spaces which homeless shelters do not provide. The essential needs are listed below have all been incorporated in the design so that it not only helps the homeless but also makes it easier for volunteers to help them too.

The Site – Downtown Calgary, Canada

The Location for the building is over this lot that currently houses a parking lot. I chose this location due to its proximity to the Bow River, walk paths, green area, and it easy access to public transport. It is close enough to downtown to provide easy access to much of the needed amenities while being enough out of the way that the residents won’t majorly disrupt any communities.

Project Progression

During the 8 weeks I have worked on this project, I have used the 6 step design process to constantly improve on my design based off peer and teacher feedback.

Final Solution


How would you feel about one of these buildings in your community?

How should awareness be brought to the importance of this type of building without creating a stigma around ones that are already or soon to be built in communities?

What more should be added to better support the homeless population?


  1. I really liked the topic you have picked for your project. Really good job explaining everything. I liked how you built your design on top of the land where its actually gonna go. Good job!

  2. This is an incredible project! It is so thorough and comprehensive. You took into account many aspects that make for suitable longer term housing. You should totally implement it :). I also love how the design blends in well with the architecture of downtown.
    In answer to your second questions, I believe that awareness should be brought to the importance through education and explaining to people the reason some end up homeless and explaining that it is not necessarily their fault but a product of their circumstances.

  3. I really enjoyed looking at how your project is not just providing a space to live. You have considered how to deal with the issue of homelessness by providing more than just a space to live. I also like your energy consideration and and awareness of space use. Very well done!

  4. Hi Cooper! Your project is so cool. I really liked your inclusion of color in your floor plan, it helped to easily differentiate between each space. If this were to be actually built I think it would be smart to consult with people who are homeless to get their input, especially in reference to the interior of the building.

  5. Hello Cooper, I really liked your project. Your design is very strong, and I liked how you used an elevation to show the singular rooms. I feel like my community needs a building like this. There is a very high homeless population in my community and this building would be very helpful for providing aid for them. Overall, great project cooper.

  6. Hi Cooper! I enjoyed reading your project. I liked the colors you included as well as your SketchUp design for your structure, your design is very well thought of. I think a homeless structure in my community would be a beneficial way in which people in need are able to seek shelter and be provided with a safe environment to live in. Overall, great job!

  7. Hi Cooper! I loved your project! We had extremely similar ideas for our projects which is why I was drawn to it. I think your location choice was amazing, and it was the perfect place to include the building. Your choice to add color to your floor plan was a great choice, because it made everything clear. Lastly, I liked how you chose to highlight the costs of materials. Overall, amazing job!

  8. Hi Cooper! You have a great topic for your project. The inspiration you took from your buildings is very evident and I love how you incorporated color throughtout. The final looks great and I can agree with all your thoughts on this issue. Great job!

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