Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Vikas Mehta, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margarethe Kusenbach, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rayme Nuckles, M.S.

Committee Member

Rick Rados, B. Arch.


Architecture, Homeless, Historic, Intervention, Community, Design


Rapid re-housing of the homeless into permanent supportive housing has proven to be cost effective. The improved quality of life and stability reduces stress on the formerly homeless and therefore increases their viability as self-sufficient individuals.

Hillsborough County (which encompasses Tampa, Florida) reported 9,532 homeless persons on any given night in the year 2007. Currently, there is not enough housing to meet the needs of every individual. While existing housing facilities contribute a great deal to this community, their locations in dilapidated urban conditions are not the most conducive environments for homeless persons to succeed. The stigma associated with the homeless also dissuades the general public from interacting with them as equals.

The researcher has designed a model which utilizes a historic site, an innovative program, and a flexible design as equal components in the facilitation of transitioning the homeless into self-sufficient individuals. The site is a vacant Tampa Cigar Factory which embodies a history of community building that metaphorically represents the rebuilding of homeless individuals within a greater community. The program consists of a combination of leasable commercial space, supportive retail, permanent supportive housing, and ample communal space that provides for self-sufficiency at an organizational level, onsite employment opportunities, and social interaction. The intervention with the factory is a flexible design that combines utilitarian and communal space to encourage maximum activity, and provides 18 unique units which residents can identify with as their own. A connective tissue contained within the secure confines of the heavy brick walls manifests the transition that the homeless must face, but in a secure, stable, and positive environment.

The result is a gestalt which is comprised of many schematic design concepts aimed at empowering the homeless individual to succeed while simultaneously reducing the general public's fear of the homeless.

The concepts from this thesis could be applied in any city to help decrease homelessness. The design of many of these spaces, both interior and exterior can be employed in neighborhood planning for any population. This thesis represents the beginning of a new model for permanent supportive housing.