Kim + Dan

Kim + Dan

We are excited about the opportunity the BLOCK Project is giving us to connect with a person who has lived without shelter, and to support them in a safe, dry, warm, welcoming home!
— Kim Sherman & Dan Tenenbaum, The First Host Family

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE TO BECOME A BLOCK HOST?

The BLOCK Project is an intentionally low-barrier project, that allows participants (hosts and residents) to define their own criteria and preferences in order to create compatibility and comfort for both parties. BLOCK Hosts must meet all of the criteria listed below.

BLOCK Host Eligibility Criteria:

  • I own a single-family home

  • My lot is greater than 4,000 square feet

  • I’m not aware of any drainage issues in my backyard

  • No one in my household has a history of violence or abuse

  • I’m comfortable providing three (3) character references from diverse areas of my life

  • When equipped with the right information, I’ll be comfortable reaching out to my neighbors about the Block Project

HOW DO I BECOME A BLOCK HOST?

  • Review the eligibility requirements

  • Complete the Host Application

  • Attend bi-monthly Community Circles to learn more and connect with other BLOCK hosts and volunteers

  • Complete your host profile on our matchmaking system

  • Pass yard/site inspection, conducted by Architects without Borders

WHAT DOES BEING A BLOCK HOST ENTAIL?

In addition to the criteria listed above, BLOCK Hosts:

  • Engage in a matchmaking process, including meeting with prospective BLOCK residents to determine compatibility

  • Meet with BLOCK Project team members and partners:

    • Review and sign legal contracts

    • Construction kick-off meeting with General Contractor, BLOCK Architects, and Facing Homelessness

    • Landscaping kick-off and follow-up meetings

    • Meet with the resident and their case manager to complete and sign the Terms of Use to help create clear expectations

  • Be present or make keys accessible during Build Days for use of the restroom, electricity for power tools, etc.

  • Expect a 2-4 month construction project in your backyard, with dozens of professionals and community volunteers visiting your property.

  • Encouraged to engage in limited media interviews

  • Proactively communicate with the resident’s case manager and/or the BLOCK Project regarding any concerns, including programmatic concerns or behavioral changes.

WHAT IS A HOST’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE RESIDENT?

Hosts and residents are encouraged to define and shape their own relationships, with the primary expectation being that each is a good neighbor to the other. We match hosts and residents by a number of criteria, including their desired level of involvement in each other’s lives. Some hosts and residents are very involved in each other’s lives, regularly having dinner together and attending social events; while others happily share space but connect less frequently.

IS THE BLOCK HOME PERMANENT?

Yes, the BLOCK Project provides permanent housing, meaning that we do not impose a move-out date for BLOCK residents. Transitioning out of homelessness is a personal and unique journey, and we believe that true healing cannot be confined to a specific period of time. While we ask that BLOCK hosts consider their engagement with the BLOCK Project to be a lifelong commitment, our legal contracts make allowances for inevitable life circumstances.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I BECOME A HOST, AND I HAVE TO MOVE?

Hosts are encouraged to think of the BLOCK Home as a permanent fixture in their yard and lives. We know that extenuating circumstances and major life changes can arise unexpectedly, and the lease accounts for such times. If a Host can no longer host a BLOCK Home, the BLOCK Home will be removed, and placed in a new prospective Host’s backyard.

HOW IS A BLOCK HOME BUILT? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

The BLOCK Homes are panelized at a warehouse and then taken to the site for assembly. BLOCK Homes are built by a combination of professionals and supervised volunteers, including a general contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, inspectors, and community volunteers. On-site construction currently takes between 2 and 4 months, with landscaping extending up to 2 additional months. Our goal is to have homes panelized and fully assembled on site within two weeks.

DOES THE BLOCK HOME NEED TO FACE A CERTAIN DIRECTION?

BLOCK Homes face south to utilize the powers of passive design. Passive design reduces the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, by taking advantage of the local climate to maintain comfortable temperatures.  For the BLOCK Home, this means that it is heavily insulated on the north, east, and west sides of the structure, but has a large window facing south, allowing the low-slung southern sun to heat the space in the winter but keep it cooler in the warm summer months. It is our vision that in future BLOCK Home designs, different orientations will be available.

IS LANDSCAPING PROVIDED?

The BLOCK Project is very fortunate to have many talented landscape architects donating time and skills. While the project budget includes only the path to the BLOCK Home, landscape architects provide a personalized full-lot plan based on the host’s budget. All desires and visions, such as privacy, are easily addressed during this process through techniques such as vegetative screening. Having glazing only on the BLOCK Home south facing wall provides built-in privacy for both the BLOCK Home resident and neighbors on the north, east and west sides.

HOW IS ONGOING MAINTENANCE HANDLED?

The construction of each BLOCK Home is managed by a licensed General Contractor, ensuring the home is constructed correctly and with care. After completion, two volunteer General Contractors generously donate their time to address ongoing maintenance for the home. Their contact information is available to both the host and the resident, and all BLOCK Home repairs are coordinated with Facing Homelessness.    

WILL THE BLOCK HOME BE CONNECTED TO MY UTILITIES?

BLOCK Hosts are currently covering the cost of the resident’s water usage, which costs approximately 30 cents per day. The Resident shares garbage, recycling, and compost pick-up with the Host, and the Host typically volunteers to cover the expense.

All homes are solar powered and working towards giving back to the grid resulting in a net positive impact. Select BLOCK Homes, depending on site eligibility, will be 100% off-grid, which means they do not need to hook up to utilities.

CAN I HAVE AN AIRBNB AND A BLOCK HOME?

Yes, as long as the number of residents on the property (not including family members) does not exceed 8 people.

I WOULD LOVE TO MOVE FORWARD

If you think you meet all of the above criteria, and are interested in becoming a BLOCK Host, please contact Sarah Steilen to learn more.