Designing a Pathway Out of Homelessness

Orange County Public Works and WD are moving forward on phase two of ‘Bridges at Kraemer Place’ - a comprehensive facility dedicated to transitioning homeless individuals into permanent housing.

On May 5, Orange County’s first year-round emergency shelter and service center, Bridges at Kraemer Place, officially opened in Anaheim. Orange County Public Works engaged Westgroup Designs (WD) in late 2016 to design a facility that fulfills the basic day-to-day needs and provides critical resources for individuals transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing. This opening marks the first phase of the project, providing beds for 100 men and women. Phase two will provide occupancy for an additional 100 residents and include an on-site health clinic, kitchen and computer lab.

WD is providing architecture, planning, and interior design services to renovate an existing industrial concrete tilt-up structure and redesign its 1.87-acre site into a 24,000sf comprehensive facility that serves as a pathway out of homelessness. The design of Bridges at Kraemer Place provides a temporary home for 200 individuals with broad support spaces, including restrooms, showers, lockers, laundry, kitchen, dining hall, computer lab, multi-service conference rooms, in-take and reception area, administration suite, and a complete medical clinic with reception, pharmacy, nurses stations, lab, and three exam rooms.

Most importantly, the facility provides residents with resources to transition out of homelessness, including case management services and daytime services providers. These programs are tailored to individual needs, which could range from reconnecting them with family, to job referrals and shuttle services, to placing the chronically homeless in rent-subsidized permanent housing that includes supportive services.

WD’s design of the Bridges at Kraemer Place will serve homeless individuals from 15 communities in north Orange County. Susan Price, the county’s director of care coordination, states, “This project creates a bridge between the streets and home.”