Shelter partners with students to confront homelessness

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by Ava Simpson – 

Recently, The Salvation Army in Sacramento, Calif., teamed up with California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) design students and faculty in a unique, collaborative service learning project to expose students to real-life challenges.

Under the guidance of several CSUS professors and faculty, the student designers (from graphic design, photography, and interior design disciplines) completed several semesters of research that included shelter visits/interviews, site analysis and guest lectures. Photography students focused on documentary photography and photojournalism, conducting weekly interviews of the shelter’s clients.

During this process, graphic design students explored color psychology and its application to the healthcare environment and also provided crucial guidance in facility directional techniques. Interior design students proposed extensive design changes to the shelter, which included an expansion from its one-story size to a three-floor, two-building facility, incorporating a broader range of services such as a medical clinic, legal office, and kennel for homeless clients’ pets.

Their designs were presented so that The Salvation Army can select components to consider for actual construction once sufficient funds are raised in the future.

Captain John Brackenbury, Del Oro divisional secretary for Program and Sacramento Metro coordinator, applauded the student designers’ efforts, saying that they had captured the program’s conviction that the facility is “not just a shelter, but a place where lives are changed for the better.”

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