On any given night in the United States, 610,042 people experience homelessness, according to the “U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report,” where the agency looked at a single night in January 2013 and estimated the number of homeless in this country. And of that total number, the agency reports, more than 396,000 people live in transitional housing or some type of emergency shelter facility. Additionally, 138,149 were children and 57,849 were veterans.
If the numbers are accurate, nearly 400,000 people a night rely on the services of shelters and transitional housing. That is a lot of people to feed, shelter and care for on a daily basis. And considering that many shelters are often underfunded and stigmatized by the community and their neighbors, it can sometimes be difficult to create an environment that helps the homeless feel normalized – create a place that they would actually choose to spend time in.
In regards to furnishings and fixtures, shelters often times rely on thrift store products or discarded and donated items. Products of this kind often cannot handle the continuous use found in these environments. Also, the products are not suited to combat the hygienic challenges that shelters often face. Inevitably, and often quickly, the products break or become unusable, and shelters find themselves in search of replacement items, which may put an unexpected dent in the budget.