GRN Vision

Low Barrier Homeless Navigation Shelters

A Dignified Approach to Addressing the Homelessness Crisis.

Homelessness is a rapidly growing problem particularly for Western US cities where rising home prices and a lack of construction of affordable housing units is putting more and more people at risk of chronic homelessness.

Low Barrier Homeless Navigation Centers are a new and Dignified approach to addressing chronic homelessness by meeting people where they are as opposed to forcing them into an institutional shelter setting which is not designed to address the trauma that people experience as a result of living on the streets. This unique solution to dignified emergency homeless housing is extremely effective because it eliminates most of the barriers that discourage homeless individuals and families from using shelter services.

The Navigation Center model provides access to full-time on-site case managers in a safe, clean and calm environment where clients can stay for several months while they receive assistance getting back onto their feet. Navigation center sites are generally chosen for ease of access to public transit and are often located on the former sites of homeless encampments. Some of the programmatic elements that make Navigation Centers a uniquely effective approach include:

  • Permanent assigned beds with privacy dividers and personal storage; clients may come and go as they please with no curfew or sobriety tests
  • Divided dormitory rooms that allows couples to stay together Residents have 24/7 access to the kitchen and areas for pets and lockable personal belongings storage

The GRN Community Vision

As a public interest architectural firm licensed in CA, NV, WA and AZ, GRN Vision has extensive experience providing expedited zoning and permitting services for multiple modular Navigation Centers. Because of the emergency nature of these facilities, it is important for these projects to be permitted and constructed quickly. GRN Vision works collaboratively with our project management partners, permitting agencies, and general contractors to ensure that these facilities are permitted in a matter of weeks and fully operational in 3-5 months.


One of GRN Vision’s core values is to incorporate community and sustainability goals into each project we work on. Ensuring healthy living and social equity are essential to sustainable impactful development practices. “As a lifelong and unapologetic optimist, I believe that the vast majority of people care about making the world a better place.”

– Rick Van Diepen, principal, GRN Vision