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While many cities are working to add affordable homes and alleviate homelessness, many built solutions will take years to have an impact. In L.A., where almost 55,000 residents live on the street or in cars, a more immediate solution is needed. However, neighborhood residents often oppose the building of shelters. According to Fast Company writer Eillie Anzilotti, design may be the problem.

She writes:

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s A Bridge Home plan, introduced earlier this year, aims to do so by allocating around $20 million toward building a homeless shelter in each of the city’s 15 council districts. These shelters are intended to be temporary stop-gaps to house people while construction begins on new units. But gaining resident approval to site 15 homeless shelters throughout the city has proven difficult, even as council members have approved Garcetti’s plan.

“Without a vision from a design perspective, people tend to think the worst,” says Marty Borko, executive director of the L.A. District Council for the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit that’s extensively studied homelessness in Los Angeles, and advised the city as to how to address it. ULI initially recommended expanding the shelter system to Garcetti in December, and that evolved into the Bridge Home plan. But ULI realized that without a design concept, residents were going to learn of a shelter going up in their neighborhood, and push back.

The nonprofit tapped three teams of architects to design concepts for the types of shelters that could emerge as a result of the bridge housing plan. These designs aren’t final, they’re simply meant to act as a starting point for when the city gets approval. But more importantly, the goal is to quell the usual opposition by neighbors to offering homeless services near them by replacing fear-mongering with actual plans.

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