In late January, the reStart Housing project in Kansas City was named a 2017 SEED Design Award honorable mention winner. Selected for excellence in Public Interest Design through a competitive jury process, reStart was recognized among projects in Bolivia, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Palestine, South Africa, and the UK. The international competition was hosted by Design Corps, the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network, designbuildXchange Network and Live Projects Network, in collaboration with the Center for Public Interest Design.
The reStart Housing project at 7540 Washington in the Waldo neighborhood was completed in the fall of 2015 and provides permanent housing and support services for young adults aging out of foster care, specifically those with mental health diagnoses. The result of more than five years of research, design, community engagement and governmental cooperation, the project promotes the holistic development of young adults, creating an avenue for each resident to join their community with support and dignity.
The project, housing 14 one-bedroom apartments, helps these young adults move toward independence and self-sufficiency, preemptively stopping homelessness before it happens. More than 800 individuals age out of foster care each year within Jackson County according to reStart Inc. Good quality housing is critical to allow young persons who have not had a stable home throughout their formative years, to start their adult life on the right foot. reStart Housing is designed to provide this stable, permanent place.
Our long-time friend and collaborator on this project, Diane Botwin, recently wrote, “For all of the young adults currently living at 7540, and for those who will live there in the future, their contributions to each other and the community are only just starting to materialize.” We look forward to watching these young adults grow, joining our city as strong, dignified, active community members. Special thanks to the entire project team: Botwin Commercial Development, AL Huber, Bob D Campbell, PKMR, SK Design Group and Indigo Design.
Now in it’s second full year of operation, the program has been extremely successful and well received by all involved.
“That’s what this place has given me — an opportunity to choose my direction,” Legend Walker, 20, resident of reStart Housing at 7540 Washington.