Although some organizations and cities are seeking to embrace their homeless as members of their communities, many people experiencing homelessness still suffer unfriendly responses and rebuffs on a daily basis. A typical day for someone experiencing homelessness also involves needs just like those of a person who is not homeless: the need for food, water, toilet facilities, and a place to sit. Conflicts arise when these needs are met in unexpected ways, or through methods not explicitly designed for that purpose. For example, the restroom in a coffeeshop is designed for the convenience of customers, but someone who is homeless disrupts this design when he or she uses the bathroom without purchasing anything. A public park bench is designed as a place for park visitors to sit and enjoy nature, but someone experiencing homelessness adapts this design to their needs when he or she chooses to sleep on the bench overnight. These adaptations by those experiencing homelessness exist everywhere; in a world that is not designed for their needs, they do the best they can. In response, some businesses and organizations are accepting that these homeless populations exist and have needs, and are reframing, or redesigning, their offerings to better accommodate these needs. By proactively pivoting toward and leaning in to this conflict and these populations, they strive to cultivate a more positive and empathetic relationship with their fellow humans and community members: the homeless of their communities.
DESIGN PROGRAM POLICY