North Carolina Micro Housing for Homeless and Disabled Veterans Project

The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH) is partnering with the North Carolina State School of Architecture and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University to develop a flexible and affordable model of micro-housing communities that would help meet the housing needs of homeless and disabled Veterans in North Carolina.

These small homes will be designed as single units and in clusters with a centrally co-located space that allows the provision of health care and support to the tenants. The design will be flexible enough to be implemented quickly and affordably in rural, suburban, and urban communities, and the homes will be designed to be readily relocatable. Units will include universal design features that ensure residents have full independence despite any physical or other limitations they may have. Research and design will take into account applicable zoning codes and restrictions to facilitate implementation in North Carolinian communities.

The project began in the summer of 2018 with a research element undertaken by three recent graduates of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Under the guidance of two Sanford Professors of the Practice, Tom Allin in Human Centered Design, and Terry Allebaugh in Housing Policy and Implementation, the graduates have been interviewing homeless and formerly homeless veterans to gain their perspective housing types and supportive services that best meet their needs. Utilizing their training in the dynamic model of human centered design taught by Professor Allin which puts people first in the design process, the students will compile their findings and complete their report by mid-August which will provide NC State School of Design and the Coalition to End Homelessness valuable insights as the design process moves forward.

During the Fall Semester, 2018, School of Design Director David Hill and Professor Thomas Barrie, will conduct a studio, masters level class dedicated solely to the development of flexible and affordable models of micro-housing for homeless veterans in North Carolina. In addition to providing a variety of graphic designs for varying site locations and elements of building specifications, the students will conduct national research on best practices; funding strategies, and; zoning and building code requirements across the state.

A local builder, Lewis Sadler of Sadler Construction who has been designing and building age-in-place and universal designed homes for 30 years, will participate in class sessions, and provide a practical sounding board for the design ideas emerging. It is Mr. Sadler’s intention to donate his time and to recruit other builders and suppliers to provide the same to build a micro-housing cluster in the Raleigh/Durham area using the designs provided by NC State.

Simultaneously, NCCEH is conducting research and interviews around ownership, management, and supportive service models being utilized around the country by various practitioners of small house development for homeless veterans. A trip to visit at least of the sites is being planned for Fall, 2018.

The School of Design along with the NC Coalition to End Homelessness will bring all these elements together to publish a type of playbook in February, 2018 intended to inspire and guide local communities to develop micro-housing units and/or clusters of units.

Project Sponsor: The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH) is a 501, C-3 nonprofit organization and serves as a member of the Operation Home Task Force to End Veteran Homelessness in North Carolina. The Micro Housing project grew out of the work of the Task Force. Terry Allebaugh, who previously served as the Ending Veteran Homelessness Coordinator for the NC Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, and now works full-time for NCCEH, is the Project Director.

Operation Home Success to Date: In just under three years of activities, Operation Home has made a significant impact in North Carolina. Operation Home has:

  • Planned and coordinated a Mini-summit in June, 2018 for service providers working on the front lines to address and end veteran homelessness that concluded with a press conference with Governor Roy Cooper announcing a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans experiencing homelessness. Presentations also documented a projected a renewed rise in numbers without additional resources.
  • Sponsored and obtained funding for six NC communities to receive intensive training from the Rapid Results Institute 2016. RRI helped these communities to develop highly integrated teams with focused goals over a 100 day program. Due to this effort, 263 homeless Veterans were assisted into permanent housing in 100 days.
  • Conducted 3 statewide annual summits (2016-2018) for 13 transitional housing programs funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help them adapt to new more effective service models. These programs are one of the largest sources of emergency housing for homeless Veterans in the state.
  • Supported the work of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness to develop plans to end Veteran homelessness in thirteen communities that cover 79 mostly rural counties in North Carolina (2017-2018)
  • Developed a pilot landlord risk mitigation project in four communities that provides an insurance policy for landlords and property managers who agree to help house people experiencing homelessness. This pilot project prioritizes homeless Veterans. (2018 – 2019)
  • Published the Status of Veteran Homelessness in North Carolina report in June 2016.