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Community Impact

May 28, 2019

House + Love = HOME

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The BLOCK Project: Building healthy community and homes to end homelessness. See more BLOCK Project photos.

Images courtesy BLOCK Architects

Facing homelessness in Seattle: the BLOCK Project

Every day, 41 people move to Seattle and only 14 units of housing are built. Homelessness and wealth disparity are growing at unprecedented rates, and existing models for providing housing and human services are not equipped to meet the growing demand. This impacts all of us; none of us can truly thrive when so many of our neighbors are suffering.

Our strategy is to create change by leveraging community, which is responsive, nimble, and eager to get involved. Empowering community to be a part of the solution not only benefits those experiencing homelessness, but also enriches the lives of those engaging as a part of the solution.

About the Model

We build homes for those living on the streets, and we take a bold stand: We will never end homelessness through housing alone. A new approach is needed, one that acknowledges that relationships are the building blocks for healing our communities and that we can no longer see those who are homeless as ‘other’. This bold new model invites all of us to step forward with our own abilities to create societal change.

About the Homes

BLOCK Homes are 125 square foot Detached Accessory Dwelling Units, designed to achieve the highest standard for sustainability in the built environment. BLOCK Homes are fully functioning units, including a kitchenette and bathroom with running water, heat, sleeping and sitting area, storage, and covered front porch.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to help end homelessness by building a BLOCK Home and thriving community on every residential block in Seattle. The model will be accessible nationwide and create a foundation of compassion and empathy for future generations.

Five BLOCK Project Pillars

INTEGRATED | Segregation perpetuates disadvantage. By building homes for those experiencing homelessness in residential backyards, The BLOCK Project fosters cross-class integration and social inclusion. The entire community is invited to be a part of the solution, and those formerly experiencing homelessness increase their proximity to new resources - and relationships - that aid healing.


SUSTAINABLE | BLOCK Homes are designed to achieve the highest standard for sustainability in the built environment (Living Building Challenge). The buildings will "give more than they take”, creating a positive impact on human and natural systems.

SUPPORTED | Homelessness is traumatic. The BLOCK Project creates an intentional network of support for each resident, including professional social services, thoughtfully matched hosts, and engaged neighbors. The BLOCK Project is introduced to every neighbor on the block and only integrates with a collective “Yes, in our backyard.”


AFFORDABLE | The barriers to developing traditional low-income permanent housing are high. The BLOCK Project makes use of the underutilized, available property and leverages the community’s desire to get involved to dramatically reduce the cost of housing.

DIGNIFIED | Our built environment shapes who we are and how we live. BLOCK Homes are permanent, sophisticated dwelling units designed to provide stability for residents as they define and achieve success. BLOCK Residents will often live in the most advanced house on their block, inviting them to educate their neighbors about sustainable living.

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