The HUV Project
- New York
The HUV Project is an effort to both provide temporary and secure housing to homeless individuals alongside launching a campaign utilizing art to raise awareness and affect change in the way in which homelessness is viewed and approached. The HUV Project will produce and distribute HUV units to homeless individuals with the cooperation and support of non-profit organizations whose aim is to provide housing, safety, and support services to homeless individuals and will display HUV design units in galleries and venues showcasing art to challenge the public to think critically about the societal impact and effects of homelessness.
The Homeless Utility Vehicle (HUV) serves to elevate individuals facing homelessness from their current living conditions through providing a practical, yet private means of housing, while acting as a catalytic art form generating awareness and engaging the public in a national examination of the influences, effects, and potential interventions that may ultimately alter the long-standing housing inequities in America.
The Homeless Utility Vehicle emerged as the product of an inspiration to address the complex issue of homelessness in America. Current estimates of homelessness in America have escalated to include approximately 744,000 people.
The HUV is both a functional design concept and a provocative display of activism. The HUV is a personal shelter in the form of a vehicle that can be used by those experiencing homelessness. The vehicle is intended for the individual who has chosen not to take advantage of local community shelters. The vehicle is not a cure for homelessness, but rather a transitional means of housing for those currently experiencing homelessness.
Art has the ability to inspire human action. Functional art represents an opportunity to address the epidemic of homelessness through striving to challenge and improve the present paradigm of transitional housing in America. Art resonates most with audiences when it is able to intersect larger humanitarian goals, thereby enhancing the intimate relationship between the art form and the audience. This symbiotic relationship between art and activism more forcefully propels social movements.
The HUV addresses the pressing issue of homelessness in America. The HUV not only provides a temporary housing solution for homeless individuals that is uniquely different than other types of transitional housing, but also calls into question society’s concept of shelter, thereby initiating a conversation about one of the most pervasive social issues faced in modern history.
The HUV seeks to increase autonomy for the homeless individual through providing a personal space enabling storage and a sense of privacy. The use of the HUV increases options by acting as an independent “home-base”. This increases mobility, but also offers the opportunity to elevate a homeless individual’s own self-perception. Homeless individuals face social stigma, are able to make few, if any, choices regarding their living situations; the HUV aims to offer an increased sense of independence which seeks to lessen negative self-perceptions, stimulate hope, and redefine how others view homelessness.
With funding for the project, the mass production and distribution of the HUV to homeless individuals would become a reality. Homeless individuals will benefit by having complete ownership of their Homeless Utility Vehicle and the flexibility to use it as a means of transitional housing in whichever way is most efficient.
Individuals who question social problems and larger communities compelled to act in a proactive manner too will benefit from this project. Art is used to provoke thought and emotion, it is used to generate hope and solutions while maintaining optimism and idealism.
A common misperception is that homelessness affects only those that remain without shelter; however, economically, socially, and emotionally we all carry the burden of homelessness. It affects the way in which our communities function. A society that commits to a humane standard of living for all of its members is a society that collectively flourishes.
Funds awarded to initiate The HUV Project will be divided to achieve three outcomes: providing immediate housing solutions for homeless individuals, raising public awareness of homelessness, and furthering research and concept design. The first step in providing assistance to homeless individuals is to form relationships with advocacy centers, outreach organizations, and housing shelters. Through forming partnerships with these organizations, The HUV Project can begin selecting and implementing the project in areas and communities with mass-produced HUVs. The organizations will then distribute HUVs to homeless clients who have been selected. The organizations monitor the location of the HUVs through GPS and will assign a caseworker to maintain contact with each client and vehicle on a periodic basis. This monitoring will ensure that the vehicle is used, track relative quality of living conditions, and will connect the individual with other social support services through the aid of the caseworker.
The HUV Project aims to alter the perception of homelessness and to help individuals transition out of homelessness. This project will be assessed based upon its ability to provide immediate housing assistance to those facing homelessness. This will be measured quantitatively by how many HUVs have been produced and distributed to homeless individuals. The qualitative aspect of the project will be measured through the assistance of assigned caseworkers. This project seeks to change the current perceptions of homelessness through the use of this vehicle as an art form as well. The vehicle will be part of an exhibit that aims to provoke thought regarding the issue of homelessness. To assess how the HUV may have affected attitudes, guests viewing HUV exhibits will be asked to complete an interactive before and after survey as part of the exhibition experience.
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