Launch Slideshow

Home to a Thousand Souls

Home to a Thousand Souls

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    SITE PLAN

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    The mission's programming makes it far more than just a homeless shelter. Residents staying for a month or longer can become involved in such activities as composting in the greenhouse, where they learn community and job skills.

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    The mission's programming makes it far more than just a homeless shelter. Residents have access to a clothing distribution center on the basement level to get clean clothes for daily living as well as for job interviews.

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    The mission's programming makes it far more than just a homeless shelter. Residents and overnight guests alike have access to an in-house beauty shop and barber salon to get haircuts and help with personal grooming.

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    The mission's programming makes it far more than just a homeless shelter. Residents can make use of the mission's two gyms to get exercise and stay healthy in a safe and controlled environment.

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    The Yellow Brick Road is the central artery of the mission, connecting living, work, eating, and meditation spaces. The corridor is wide enough to allow socializing and impromptu gatherings, as well as to set up tables from which to distribute informational flyers on subjects ranging from getting a job to healthy living.

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    A mother and child sit on a bunk in the women and children's shelter, which is open to both program residents and overnight guests. Many families are coming to stay at the mission, because though men and women sleep in different dorms, a whole family can eat together at mealtimes and interact in public spaces, whereas many shelters have completely different facilities for the two sexes.

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    Residents can gather in several public spaces to listen to a presentation in the mission's main meeting space (far bottom left) or in the main cafeteria (bottom middle), which can seat 600 and serves 1,800 meals three times a day. Quiet reflection is allowed in the chapel (bottom, near left), which is also used for regular religious services.

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    Residents can gather in several public spaces to listen to a presentation in the mission's main meeting space (far bottom left) or in the main cafeteria (bottom middle), which can seat 600 and serves 1,800 meals three times a day. Quiet reflection is allowed in the chapel (bottom, near left), which is also used for regular religious services.

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    Timothy Hursley

    Residents can gather in several public spaces to listen to a presentation in the mission's main meeting space (far bottom left) or in the main cafeteria (bottom middle), which can seat 600 and serves 1,800 meals three times a day. Quiet reflection is allowed in the chapel (bottom, near left), which is also used for regular religious services.

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    Roof

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    Third Floor

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    Second Floor

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    First Floor

TOOLBOX

Hotboxes
To ensure that the building remains sanitary, the architects designed hotboxes-separate metallined rooms-off one of the men's and one of the women and children's dorms. These rooms sport specialized heaters (connected to and powered through the central heating system) that heat the space to a scorching 180 degrees. The process kills any vermin, be it lice or bacteria, that might be clinging to the clothing, keeping them safe from infestation and disease. When visitors arrive for an overnight stay, they are asked to remove their clothing, take a shower, and change into a mission-issued nightshirt. Their clothes are immediately put into the hotbox and sterilized. The same happens to the bedding after use and to any donated clothing.

Greenhouses and Composting
"It all began with worms," says Tigerman. The greenhouses on the roof of the mission are run by Nance Klehm, a third-generation nursery owner and expert in organic composting and farming. She brought 10,000 worms to start the greenhouse's composting program, and through the addition of table scraps and other waste from the nearly 6,000 daily meals served since the mission's opening in October, the number of worms has swelled to 30,000 in just a few months, with an eventual goal of 3,000,000. The worms create organic compost, which sells for a pretty penny in the Chicago market and ensures the rapid and robust growth of organic lettuce and tomatoes.

 

The spoils of these gardens will be sold this summer at a farmer's market in the cloister, with the income from both that and compost sales going directly back to fund the mission's programming.

Bunks
The mission's 1,000 beds were custom designed by Tigerman and manufactured by the American Bedding Company out of Tennessee, a company that specializes in institutional contracts. The design of the metal bunks was influenced by Tigerman's time in the Navy, when he learned about cramming a large number of people into a small space. Designed to be narrow (30 inches wide, as opposed to a standard 36 or 39 inches wide) to allow for broader aisles and more rows, the beds are made to be indestructible. Made from powder-coated steel tubing, the beds have a solid baked-enamel panel at pillow-level to offer a measure of privacy for residents. The rest of the panels are perforated to allow for a regular flow of fresh air. Speced to be 6-feet-3-inches-long to accommodate varied heights, the beds can be configured as a single bed, a bunk bed, or a set of two bunk beds connected to one another.