From 2016 to 2017, the homeless population in the U.S. increased for the first time in seven years, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the U.S., 553,742 people were homeless in 2017. Housing programs are a meaningful contribution to addressing the homelessness crisis. Living without a home not only endangers individuals’ health and safety, but is also a significant barrier to obtaining and keeping a means of employment. Shelter is a necessity for all, and providing housing is one way to ease suffering and support individuals seeking to break a cycle of poverty.

According to Forbes, big box stores, like Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears are closing in record numbers. Repurposing a vacant, big box store is a rising trend as retail developers look for creative solutions to incorporate mixed-use components into underutilized retail spaces.

What is Re-Habit?

Re-Habit converts a vacant, big box store to smaller, retail spaces, while providing housing, employment, and support for homeless individuals.

An entry path to the mall is carved out of the mass and retail spaces in varying square footages front the path to the mall entry.

A courtyard is created and three sizes of sleeping rooms are available: 20-bed pod, 12-bed pod, and a 2-bed room. 8 apartment units also sit above the retail.

Self-improvement and recreational programming are included within the mixed-use program.

Roof space is added for recreational programming and a rooftop garden.


Welcome Center
Homeless individuals enter into the transitional housing program.


Retail Plaza
Renewable energy practices, like incorporating photovoltaics in the facade design, add to the self-supporting concept of Re-Habit.


Retail Stores
The main goal of the project is to be self-supporting by providing training, employment, and housing for residents.


Dining Hall
Residents rotate housing chores, like working in the kitchen or keeping the dining hall clean.


Rooftop Garden
Residents grow fresh ingredients to be used in the residential kitchen and small food shops.


Bed Pods
There are 4 different types of rooming accommodations, where the residents get an increase in independence and privacy the longer he or she stays in the program.