A Community Coming Together to Address Homelessness The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center   |   Dallas, Texas   |   76,000 GSF   |   LEED Silver Certified

A new model for addressing chronic homelessness, The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center changes the way the issue is approached inside and out. Complementing and enhancing its downtown Dallas location, the Center brings numerous services together in a single location to serve over a thousand clients a day.

Take a moment to remember the most stressful point in your life. We’ve all had one: Maybe your credit card was stolen. Or you fell ill. Or you were unexpectedly without childcare. Whether the stress was financial, medical or interpersonal, it was most certainly emotional.

Now imagine that same point in your life, but strip away all of your existing support structures. Your family, your friends, your church, your job, whatever savings you might have—chances are, that rough patch would’ve been far worse.

This is what it’s like for millions nationwide. One bad break spirals downward, leaving them with literally nowhere to go. This is the surprising, frustrating, all-too-common reality of homelessness.

Not a shelter. A support system.
The Bridge has made the downtown Dallas community a better place to work and live. The owner of the shop across the street who led the fight against the plans has now said that the Bridge is the best thing that has happened to the neighborhood.
Mike Rawlings Chairman of the Board Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance
When the city of Dallas wanted to address the problem, they knew it wouldn’t be as simple as placing a roof over 6000+ heads. Rebuilding the homeless’ support structure would be a city-wide effort, and they needed a place when everyone could come together. This would be the objective of The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center.

“We cannot be a great city and just go make a bunch of money and leave the homeless, the mothers and children … on the side of the road,” says Mike Rawlings, Chairman of theMetro Dallas Homeless Alliance. “That’s not the way the Good Samaritan does it, and we’re a Good Samaritan city.”

Overland approached the downtown site with this sense of community in mind. Rather than masking the problem of homelessness, the goal was to create a local point of pride. A place where those seeking assistance would be referred to as “clients” and the many civic groups invested in the issue could truly work together.

A home for everyone.
1,200
served daily
The resulting Center encircles outdoor courtyards, fostering both a sense of community and security. Open to clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the 76,000-square-foot space acts as a hub for multiple aid groups and their services. Resources include dormitory areas (including an outdoor sleeping pavilion for those uncomfortable indoors), physical and mental health facilities, child care, legal offices, counseling areas, a training facility and security offices. Additional amenities include laundry facilities, a recreation center, pet shelter, library, lockers and postal services. And, at its heart, is a dining pavilion that is shared by all clients. Bright and airy, with a translucent exterior and green roof, the exuding light serves as a warm beacon for the downtown it faces.
And downtown Dallas has embraced it. While originally facing some NIMBY opposition, the Bridge has proved to be a great neighbor. Crime in the immediate area has dropped by 20%. Property values around the LEED Silver certified building have held solid in an otherwise down market as well.

“The Bridge has made the downtown Dallas community a better place to work and live,” says Rawlings. “The owner of the shop across the street who led the fight against the plans has now said that the Bridge is the best thing that has happened to the neighborhood.”

Most importantly, though, is the good work the Bridge enables. Here, the people of Dallas are now coming together to serve up to 1,200 clients a day, providing for basic needs and establishing the support structure necessary to move them towards permanent employment and housing. Because no one should have face destabilizing hardships alone. And thanks to The Bridge, the people of Dallas don’t have to.

Awards
  • Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medal 2011
  • Topping Out Awards Top 10 Projects 2010
  • AIA National Housing Award 2009
  • AIA HUD Secretary Community Informed Design Award 2009
  • CLIDE Award for Special Development 2009
  • Chicago Athenaeum American Architect Award 2009
  • Environmental Design + Construction Excellence in Design Award 2009
  • IIDA Design Excellence Awards Honorable Mention 2009
  • AIA San Antonio Divine Detail Award 2008
  • International Rebranding Homelessness Competition (exhibited at the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa) Best Architectural Entry
Publications
  • Chinese & Overseas Architecture, “The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center,” September 2011
  • AiArchinovations, “The Bridge – Homeless Assistance Center in Dallas,” August 2009
  • Architectural Record, “AIA Special Housing and HUD Community – Informed Design,”July 2009
  • Azure, “A Different Take on Dallas, TX,”  July 2009
  • Texas Architect, “Homeless Assistance Center,” March 2007

IN ASSOCIATION WITH CAMARGO COPELAND ARCHITECTS
The Bridge incorporates the artwork, Windows to the Soul, by Gordon Huether. Read more about the artwork by Gordon Huether that was integrated into the architecture of The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center