The Hospitality Hub was founded in 2007 by the Downtown Churches Association out of a desire to offer the homeless in Memphis a centralized entry point into the Continuum of Care.  With backing from the City of Memphis, Shelby County, the Downtown Memphis Commission, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, local churches and private philanthropy, the HUB is building a new home at the former Memphis Public Service Inspection Station located at 590 Washington Ave. The new location will house a new 6,000 square foot central intake facility, twice the size of the HUB’s previous location at 82 N. Second. In addition to housing the HUB’s offices and programs, the new location includes an adjacent Day Plaza and a barrier-free women’s shelter.

Women’s Shelter

This will be the region’s first barrier-free emergency shelter for women that provides immediate stability and a space to begin to heal from the trauma of the streets. It will be paired with top-tier, 24/7 case management, with a shelter that provides a necessary baseline to rebuild a stable life.

Why is this being built?
In the past, women were considered to be a small percentage of the homeless population in Memphis. In 2018, the HUB provided support to 588 newly homeless women, comprising 37% of the city’s homeless population. However, with only 6% of the available beds open to homeless women—and even fewer to female-identifying HUB clients—counselors found themselves in a position every day of not having shelter beds.

Who can stay at the women’s shelter?
Anyone who identifies as female and accompanying children.

What makes this shelter experience unique?
Barrier-free shelters operate on the premise that homelessness is not an individual choice or attributed to personal disposition. Rather, the HUB recognizes homelessness as the result of a mix of economic, structural and societal factors that affect society’s most vulnerable. In order to promote safety and healing, the shelter will have a Quiet Room, Family Room, Salon, a large outdoor space and several places to be alone.

What are the goals for this shelter to help women exit homelessness?
Our expanded Hub offices will be located in the same building, so our guests will have access to the full spectrum of Hub services and their partners.

Why build just a women’s shelter?
With 94% of shelter beds available to men only, there is a great deficit of beds for women in the city. Also, many of the current shelters will not allow a woman to bring her children in. We are filling a gap in emergency shelters for women and their children.

Day Plaza

25,000sf of world-class park space created specifically as a respite from the street.  The Plaza welcomes everyone by providing a place to relax while offering close proximity to professional care and coordinated entry into the Continuum of Care.

Why build a day plaza?
Day plazas can play an important role for a community. They often serve as a symbol for a community’s identity and can act as a city “living room,” where people gather for special events and everyday social interaction. The plaza serves as a peaceful, harassment-free outdoor space where all are welcome.

Why is a day plaza important for helping serve the homeless? 
Thoughtfully designed plaza spaces such as this provide a retreat from urban noise and create a welcoming atmosphere for individuals experiencing homelessness. This is beneficial to helping Hub staff engage with clients in a more casual way, building trust.

Why not use the plaza space to build a larger shelter?
There’s a need for both. The size of the shelter was carefully calculated to meet the current need, while preparing for escalating trends. The Plaza will serve at a crucial stage on which to bring the community together in supporting our most vulnerable neighbors.

Hospitality Hub

As the region’s single point of entry for homeless individuals, the HUB assesses their individual needs and connects them with stabilizing resources. Hub Outreach, Work Local (jobs), shelter, benefits, identification and extensive case management will operate from this central point and allow for expanded services.

What new services and features will this facility have to help the individual experiencing homelessness in Memphis?
This facility will allow us to expand all of our services by providing space for more caseworkers and counselors, programming with partner organizations, a dedicated Work Local room, and training facilities. The building itself will be a positive public icon for the HUB, emphasizing the ongoing success of its programs and impact in Memphis. 

Sacred Places

The Hospitality Hub has partnered with the organization Nature Sacred on the creation of three Sacred Places here on the new campus: the women’s interior gardens, the staff courtyard and the expanded Day Plaza.

These green spaces designed by Nature Sacred in conversation with HUB staff, HUB clients, and HUB partners are meant to foster mindful reflection, respite, and renewal. Each Sacred Place is intended to reconnect people with nature and follow four core principles of being open, sacred, nearby, and community-led.  The HUB Campus will contain three Sacred Places: a Plaza Park between the main campus and the outdoor patio deck, a Staff Courtyard, and a Women’s Courtyard.

The Day Plaza at the Hospitality Hub

The Sacred Place at the Day Plaza will be a welcoming nature space that those experiencing homelessness can casually drop into and linger comfortably in without worry or fear of being shooed away. This is their bit of nature. In addition to the plantings that include a rain garden, gentle mounds will offer varying ground elevations that translate into a visually appealing space; a small pathway winding through trees will lead to a Nature Sacred bench. Elsewhere in the space: play features for young visitors and an amphitheater. Hammocks for reclining as well as a range of other seating will be placed throughout. A promenade will link the garden space to food trucks that offer free meals to clients. On-site wash stations and water refill provide for visitors’ practical needs.

A Women’s Space at the Hospitality Hub

Outside the new women’s shelter, which houses 32 rooms, will be a dedicated outdoor space for residents, a Sacred Place designed with the principles of trauma-informed care.

The Staff Courtyard at the Hospitality Hub

This will be part of the Hub’s new expanded center of operations serving as the region’s single point of entry for the homeless seeking assistance, and as the operation’s outreach nexus. The courtyard, designed by and for clients and staff, will be sectioned into zones demarcated with plantings that include a river birch and gingkos, and with curved art walls, providing privacy and a sense of intimacy — essential design considerations.

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