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Blu Homes Teams Up to Offer Housing for Homeless

Posted by Macie Melendez on November 27, 2012
Blu Homes Teams Up to Offer Housing for Homeless
Aerial rendering of the eco-friendly Oma Village project for homeless families. (Blu Homes)

California- and Massachusetts-based green precision home builder Blu Homes announced that it has partnered with nonprofit Homeward Bound of Marin on a critically needed permanent, supportive housing project for homeless families in Marin County, California.

With the Oma Village project, Blu Homes and Homeward Bound will transform the run-down former site of an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center into a thriving, eco-friendly community of 14 compact one- and two-bedroom family homes. When completed in fall 2013, the new homes will provide dignified housing and a supportive community for low-income families working their way out of homelessness through employment, job training, and/or education. Features of Oma Village will include

  • a staff-managed community space, laundry, and computer training center for residents;
  • an outdoor kitchen and common area designed to foster a sense of communal pride and responsibility;
  • sustainably forested or reclaimed wood, and recycled steel;
  • healthy environments, including zero emissions from paint and other toxic materials,
  • highly energy-efficient units that incorporate high-performance materials and systems throughout, such as radiant heat, Energy Star appliances, and high R-value walls, the goal being to create  a community of net zero energy buildings; and
  • ongoing support for residents from Homeward Bound program staff and maintenance crew.

All of Blu’s homes are designed and built off-site in its state-of-the art 250,000 ft2 factory in Vallejo, California, resulting in drastically reduced environmental and community site impact. Because the Oma Village homes will be almost entirely finished in the factory, construction will be greatly expedited, with on-site work measured in weeks not months, as in the case of traditional construction. In addition, Blu Homes builds in a controlled factory environment, which saves resources and energy, and reduces construction waste and landfill use.

This project will help to address the high community priorities of ending homelessness and providing needed workforce housing in Marin. The primary cause of homelessness in Marin—which is on the rise—is the high cost of rental housing, combined with low income from low-wage work or public benefits. The fair market rate for a two-bedroom apartment in Marin is an astronomical $1,905. This puts rental homes out of reach of many homeless families, even those who have found jobs. With rents varying from $500 to $600 per month, the energy-efficient Oma Village homes will be affordable even for families with jobs in the low-wage service sector of Marin’s economy.

 

For more information on Blu Homes, go to www.bluhomes.com.

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