There’s an excellent article in NY Times on what’s believed to be the first green homeless shelter in the country. It’s an extraordinary $11 M shelter. Homeless shelters usually operate out of an old warehouse or derelict building, but this place, Crossroads, is different. It’s a reality primarily as a result of the tenacity of Wendy Jackson, executive director of the East Oakland Community Project of Alameda County. After seven long years and lots of hard work, Jackson was able to make it happen. The newly finished, modern building accommodates 125 residents.
The article, I think, hits on a big point. Many of the residents that visit shelters have asthma, allergies, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, etc., and a building such as this is a healthy, green space. Thus, in addition to the solar panels, there’s green tech such as hydronic heating, hip ceiling fans, nontoxic paints, operable windows, and natural furniture. These technologies have health benefits, and when we think of ‘green’ buildings, we’re not only talking about energy or water, we’re talking about mental, physical, and spiritual health.