billionBRICKS

billionBRICKS: For a world without homelessness

SingaporeSingapore, Singapore
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Improving the life of the homeless through quality design, sustainable architecture and cutting-edge technology. bB teams up with on-ground NGOs working with homeless communities and provides professional design expertise to build adequately designed shelters and a motivating living environment.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if quality, sustainable building infrastructure could improve the life of the homeless by providing socio-economic opportunities?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Today, over 2 billion people lack a decent shelter and do not have access to basic housing services. Urbanisation is on the rise and, by 2030, 60% of the world population will live in slums. In spite of the overall reduction of poverty, there are not proper urban development policies nor sustainable solutions that ensure an improvement in living conditions and the quality of life of the urban poor is decreasing dramatically.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Architecture and technology can alleviate poverty by providing innovative building and infrastructure solutions. A dignified living environment encourages economic and social development and has the potential to affect the whole society in the long-term. We partner with local communities to design spaces which meet the aspirations of its inhabitants and offer sustainable and replicable solutions for maximum impact. For immediate relief, we design and build shelters for the homeless. For long term sustainable impact, we develop strategies for community integration and urban equity. We believe quality design, safe and sustainable building infrastructure is one of the keys to end homelessness and to empower the poorest communities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Andheri shelter in Mumbai, built in collaboration with Ngo Saalam Baalak Trust, is bB pilot project. It is being designed on a land and abandoned building donated by the government. The shelter is a day care facility during the day and a sleeping place for street children at night and includes many areas for indoor as well as outdoor activities. The interior spaces are designed for flexibility, which allows it to be adapted according to future learning needs Exterior spaces are designed for workshops, events and gardening. Special attention was given to common collaborative spaces as well as to light and ventilation to provide for a better and safe learning environment for children aged between 3 and 17 year old.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Andheri shelter currently caters for 35 boys; by 2015 it will be at its full capacity and provide for 100 boys who are currently living in the streets. It provides shelter, food, clothing and healthcare and permanent teaching staff support children in their homework and organises art and craft classes and other learning activities. This centre alleviates families of the expenses for children's education and will increase their income and productivity in the long term, because they will know their children are safe and taken care of. Homework support ensure children will have more opportunities to have good school results and will be exposed to several activities that may make a difference in their adults' life. This will provide access to meaningful education and social opportunities that could improve their family's lifestyle and income.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our projects currently cover Cambodia (100 homes), Malaysia (350 students per semester), Bangalore (100 homes). We are planning to increase our impact tenfold and rehabilitate 5 families per day by 2020. In the long term, we are working to develop a "homeless free city-by-city"method and replicate it to have a larger impact. We are establishing a bB R&D innovation studio based in Singapore to conceptualise our strategies. We are engaging with a variety of stakeholders to tackle the issue from different angles to implement and scale-up our solutions and create a movement to end homelessness.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

A seed-funding system coming from foundations and permanent donors will provide a solid base on which securing our self-reliance. Additional revenue will be sourced from the sale of our marketable products for the mainstream market such as mobile applications and the 100$ shelters and we will charge our services such as our design expertise. Fundraising events and pledges are successfully organised on a regular basis to increase bB donor base.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most of the organisations working in this field work in disaster-affected areas and in humanitarian crisis, in low density solutions and are project-based. Some of them are: Habitat for Humanity, Architecture for Humanity, Architecture Global Aid, Building Trust International, Article 25, Mass Design. Conversely, billionBRICKS mainly works in urban areas, in slums and with homeless communities. We offer quality designed shelters, technological tools and exchange platforms for sustainable and replicable solutions that aim at urban equity and scalable strategies to solve the homeless crisis.
Team

Founding Story

Prasoon worked as a corporate architect for over 10 years and always designed homes for people who already had one or more. When working on a slum project, he realised he was unable to deliver a balanced solution that considered the needs of its inhabitants as well as the requirements of a commercial firm. He resigned and shared his thoughts of a new organization with the CEO of the firm, Anurag, who is now bB co-founder. Together, they founded billionBRICKS, with a vision to build for the homeless and vulnerable communities and to promote an architecture which is not poor but appropriate because they believe quality design and a dignified a environment that encourages socio-economic uplift should be accessible to all.

Team

Anurag Srivastava - Founding Trustee and co-founder; Prasoon Kumar - Co-founder and CEO; Snehal Mantri - Founding Trustee; Nikita Verma - Architect [full-time]; Marcella Segre - Content writer [part-time];Manish Sinha - Strategy Director [part-time];Sowjanya Chintalapati - Graphic Designer [volunteer] Bea Butler - Marketing [volunteer]. The establishment of a bB office will require a strong design and tech team, accounting and researchers.
About You
About You
First Name

Marcella

Last Name

Segre

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Singapore

Country where this project is creating social impact
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Customers.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

-Honorable mention at Reinventing Dharavi International Competition 2014
-Selected and participant of L.A. Study Tour 2014
-Shortlisted as one of the 100 organizations globally to be featured in Sparknews organized Impact Journalism Day - 2014
-Semi-finalist for Echoing Green 2014
-Winner of Hub Singapore Social Entreprenuership Award- 2013

Where have you learnt about the competition?

The Hub Singapore network

Tell us about your partnerships:

1)NGOs: Who need our expertise in building quality infrastructure and ensure the needs of the beneficiary community are met:
Saalam Baarack Trust (Mumbai)
HOPE & HOME foundation (Bangalore)
Solutions to End Poverty (Singapore)
2) Funding Partners: Who support our projects
DBS
Macquarie
Autodesk
3)Institutional Partners - Who cooperate to deliver our projects and products:
Arizona State University
SpaceMatrix Design Consultants

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

1-bB is now in the growth stage and it needs to secure consistent funding and revenue. We are broadening our funding base and we are developing products to sale on the market such as mobile applications and the 100$ shelters ["The Sleeping Box"].
2-The building construction industry is vulnerable to the world economic situation and affects the availability of land for our projects. To be more reliable, we are establishing stronger partnerships in the construction and manufacturing industry and planning to work with governmental and institutional partners to better support our projects.