Ending Homelessness: Efficient Homes, Bright Futures

Author: Katie Norem, Published on: February 15, 2024

 Ending Homelessness: Efficient Homes, Bright Futures

Like many of my coworkers and you, I enjoyed having some time off for the holidays. I spent most of it at home attempting to bake, cooking (a lot of dinosaur chicken nuggets), wrapping presents, and enjoying time with loved ones. I’m so grateful to have had this precious time, and all under my own roof. But it reminds me that there are those who aren’t so fortunate.

Homelessness increased 12% from January 2022 to January 2023, reported the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in its Annual Homelessness Assessment Report. At this time last year, over 650,000 people did not have a place to call their own. Many factors are behind the increase, ranging from a lack of affordable housing options and resources to an expiring eviction moratorium and COVID relief benefits.

Despite these grim stats, though, there is a bright, shining spot: supportive housing. For many, access to supportive housing aims to put people into permanent housing solutions vs shelters and other less stable options. Ensuring the housing units are as energy efficient as possible give these programs their best chance at success.

Proper maintenance combined with tightening a building’s envelope (think caulks, window seals, and other weatherization measures) reduce operating costs. Installing high quality cost-effective essentials lowers utility bills and increases the affordability of the programs, expanding their reach. And besides being energy efficient, tenants will love that the products, like water-saving fixtures, will still deliver the convenience and comfort they are used to.

For example, the ShowerStart® Express Tub and Shower System eliminates water waste while still offering an enjoyable shower experience. While a resident prepares to shower, cold water exits the tub faucet. Once the water gets hot, the flow is diverted to the showerhead, then paused. When the user is ready to shower, they simply pull the cord and the water resumes full flow. The system can save up to 15 gallons of hot water per shower, or 7% of a multifamily property’s water consumption. This solution is impactful even for properties and homes where energy efficient showerheads were already installed.

And on top of all these benefits, here’s another: the government could offset all or much of the costs for implementing energy efficient measures. Check out these funding opportunities from the US Department of Energy.

The housing crisis did not happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight. But every step toward increasing access to and affordability of housing is a step in the right direction.