Overnight shelters serve an important need for those experiencing homelessness: the on-demand, immediate need for a secure place to sleep at night. As places designed for short-term stay with a constantly revolving set of residents, often inhabiting converted buildings, they can sometimes be utilitarian or uncomfortable for shelter visitors – they are no substitute for a true home. With simple alterations to a shelter, or a specifically thoughtful approach oriented toward its visitors, a shelter can become a more welcoming, secure, and comfortable place. Designers have an opportunity here to assist shelters in this transformation by offering pro bono services, while individuals could lend volunteer time to help make these improvements.
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