Converting empty offices to housing to reduce homelessness?
7 May 2023
When people started working from home during the COVID pandemic, large numbers of office buildings fell vacant, and many remain that way. So why not convert these once commercial spaces into residential accommodation, and put a roof over the head of homeless people?
Proponents argue that increasing housing in urban centres through office-to-residential conversions also supports the 15-minute city model, where many of your daily needs are just a short walk or bike ride from home. The model promotes community-building and healthy living, boosts local economies and reduces transport emissions, helping ensure there is cleaner air and a more sustainable planet.
Problems abound though. Repurposing office blocks into housing comes at cost, and some buildings are not always suitable for conversion into residential accommodation. It’s an unfortunate dilemma. On one hand, buildings sit empty, while on the other, there are people without a place to call home.