Yale architecture building home for homeless shelter

Yale Architecture students working on a new homeless shelter in the Hill section of New Haven (WTNH / Kevin Pflaumer)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – On a corner lot on Adeline Street, there is a construction project with an unusual crew. It is made up of Yale architecture students. The school has built something like this every year for 50 years.

“Every year we work with non-profit organizations,” explained Adam Hopfner, a professor at the Yale School of Architecture. “We’ve just begun this 5 year collaboration with Columbus House.”

Columbus House is best known as a homeless shelter, but this building will have two units of affordable, permanent housing. One efficiency apartment for a single person, and a two-bedroom apartment for a small family.

“These will come with subsidies and people will be able to live here as long as they want and as long as they can abide by the terms of their lease,” said Columbus House CEO Allison Cunningham.

The students took great pains to design the building specifically for the needs of Columbus House clients.

“They spent weeks at Columbus House learning the issues of homelessness and how that might impact the way they developed their designs,” Hopfner said.

Once they designed it, then they started building it in a warehouse.

“Every dormer, window frame, interior petitions, the cabinetry, the stairs, everything has been prefabricated off-site,” said Hopfner.

The whole thing has gone up in just days, and remember this is the start of a 5 year collaboration. Columbus House will get 4 more houses like this, truly custom-made for its clients.

“And it’s brilliant the way it’s designed,” Cunningham said. “There’s so much light, there’s so much spaciousness in it that I think whoever moves in is going to be absolutely delighted.”

The whole building will be done in 6 weeks. There is an open house scheduled for September 25th. Plus, the crew has to work now, because classes begin back at Yale in a couple weeks.

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