Hakook (www.hakook.com) is a social justice and advocacy organization that aims to end chronic street homelessness in New York City. Our team spent two years speaking with just under 1,000 people living outside the shelter system. As we entered an already crowded homeless services space, we found our niche by focusing on people outside the shelter system and speaking directly with them, listening to their stories, learning about their experiences, and hearing their ideas for how the system can be improved.
After dozens of meetings with existing organizations, we learned that decisions around homelessness are made behind closed doors without people who live through it everyday. Hakook seeks to bridge that disconnect through human-centered design. As it stands, people are asked to work through an extraordinarily bureaucratic system in order to move from the streets into permanent housing. Transitional housing can be available, however, people often prefer living on the streets than in transitional housing for many of the same reasons they avoid living in shelters.
By partnering up with DFA NYU , we are aiming to design a system for people who are homeless with people who are homeless. Together, we hope to reimagine:
1. The steps between living on the streets and moving into permanent housing
2. What transitional housing looks like and how homeless folks interact with it
This project will serve as one of Hakook’s three main initiatives, complementing our IRB research and our two video teams. Ultimately, the three initiatives will be presented to members of the City Council and the Department of Homeless Services as the first comprehensive proposal co-authored by people who are homeless.
1. Research to highlight the barriers to moving into housing
2. Human-centered design to offer improvements to the current system
3. Documentaries and podcasts to raise awareness and build urgency
This project will span from October, 2017, into March, 2018. Per Design For America’s standard policies, participants are expected to contribute five hours of time per week and attend the monthly DFA project critiques. We are looking to work with two to four students who will work directly with two team members from Hakook. Ideal candidates are passionate about public policy and social services and enjoy speaking directly with people. A background in community service and social justice is preferable but not necessary. Our team values the idea that anyone who wants to help can help.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by emailing
Josh Dean at email@example.com and Emma Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule
a time to interview. Thank you and we look forward to meeting you soon.