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The group RainCity Housing in Vancouver has created a unique response to controversial anti-homeless architectural structures showing up in other major cities. Their “pop up shelter” benches contain foldable roofs that provide shelter from rain, and feature UV-activated letters that read “This is a bench/This is a bedroom” depending on whether it is day or night. The benches also contain the address to the RainCity shelters that provide housing and support to the area’s growing homeless community. The structures are seen as a response to a trend of architectural designs that have controversial built-in deterrents—like spikes embedded in concrete, and additional armrests on benches to prevent lying down—to stop people from sleeping in certain outdoor spaces ... Discuss

According to numbers from the Coalition for the Homeless, there are currently more than 23,000 homeless children living in New York City shelters—an all-time high. And, as this story from My Fox NY notes, because of rising rent prices, complicated employment situations and strict shelter rules that limit working hours and child care options, for parents, breaking out of the cycle of homelessness can be extremely difficult.

The local news outlet interviewed several children at one Brooklyn shelter to discuss the experience of homelessness. One said he hides the fact that he is homeless even from his classmates: “Because they're going to try and make fun of me but in my heart I know I'm a good person and I don't care if they make fun of me because I know I'm going to get out of the shelter." If you are looking to help the homeless in the city, New York Magazine has put together this list of charities and organizations with services and programs to assist those living on the streets, attempting to get back on their feet ... Discuss

The microhouse idea is catching on in California. Several city counsel members in San Jose want their city to follow in the footsteps of several Oregon towns who’ve constructed cheap, safe—extremely small—houses for local homeless community. Though the microhouses are less than 150 square feet and have no running water (bath room areas are shared), officials say they offer a safer and more sanitary option than tent communities or forcing the homeless to live on the street. Last year alone, four homeless people died from exposure during the winter months in San Jose.

Jenny Niklaus of the organization HomeFirst told the local CBS news station, “When you give somebody a key to their own door, their own house, that they can call their own that’s a victory … right now to afford an apartment in San Jose, you have to make more than $30 an hour. It’s stunning the gap between what people can afford and what is real. For people who are homeless, living on a subsidy, a place like a little home helps overcome those barriers.” The council members plan on presenting their microhouse proposal next week ... Discuss

In an effort to “change how you see the homeless,” the NYC Rescue Mission conducted a viral video social experiment, to see if people would even notice members of their own families if they appeared homeless. The idea behind the video is to ask the question, “Have the homeless become so invisible we wouldn’t notice our own family living on the street?” The results are pretty compelling. You can learn more about how NYC Rescue Mission is helping the New York’s homeless community—and how you can support them—at MakeThemVisible.com ... Discuss

While homelessness continues to be a major problem in cities around the country, some creative architects and innovative nonprofits are hoping that they have found a solution: micro-houses. Read More