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Housing the Homeless
High Point, North Carolina 2021


Building a multigenerational home for families looking to exit homelessness


High Point, North Carolina



In 2021, Building Humanity is partnering with Ray's The Roof to assist their House The Homeless Foundation (HTH) in breaking ground on a prototype housing project in High Point, North Carolina. The project will take a previously unused plot of land and transform it into a multi-generational home and prototype micro-accessory dwelling unit (ADU), both to be used as transitional housing for families and individuals looking to exit homelessness.

Ray’s the Roof HTH, founded in 2019, currently focuses on feeding the hungry and assisting the elderly, veterans, and people with disabilities. Ray’s the Roof HTH provides food to local shelters through their affiliation with the Food Donation Connection and Outback Steak House. They hold an annual clothing drive on MLK day to feed and provide clothing to the homeless. Their long-term plan is to build safe, affordable housing options for those looking to exit homelessness.

Ray Lacen, founder of Ray’s the Roof Foundation, had contacted Building Humanity in 2018 after reading about Building Humanity’s 2018 Thailand Build where an international team of volunteers built a bakery and basketball court for Felix Family Orphanage in Surat Thani, Thailand.

Building Humanity works with communities that are addressing systemic issues such as housing, nutrition & healthcare, families & children, girls & women, education and economic stability & growth. Working side by side with a community, Building Humanity helps facilitate the construction of their project using local resources, community involvement, and a team of international volunteers and donated funds. Projects have included homes for young families available through micro loans, a dormitory for girls to live and study during the school year, an eco-toilet facility, a community health center, a greenhouse to grow and sell vegetables, and a bakery that will employ local women and provide financial benefit to the community. Building Humanity focuses on projects that can address root issues within a community with short term action through the form of self-contained projects.

The collaboration between Ray’s The Roof Foundation and Building Humanity is a great opportunity for these two charities to come together and complete a project that showcases alternative housing options.

The property being developed was purchased by Shonda Sutton, CEO of Dignity Housing Co.

Together, Building Humanity and Ray’s the Roof Foundation will showcase two new types of construction, Emmedue and Innovative Building Technologies (IBT), that will provide affordable, durable options for the city to consider as a solution to their housing needs. High Point’s Mayor, Jay Wagner, is interested in exploring affordable housing options that the city can build and provide to individuals and families looking to escape homelessness. 


The project site is located at 514 Newton Place in High Point, North Carolina. It is in a great location for families, across the street from Ferndale Middle School and a block from High Point Central High School. It is also situated roughly 3/4 of a mile from the nearest train station and a 1/4 mile from the nearest bus stop. 

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On this site there will be two dwellings, a multi-generational transitional home and a micro accessory dwelling unit (ADU). Both projects will become showcase models where various organization, municipalities or groups are able to see how these construction techniques may be applied to various scenarios, locations and situations.

The multi-generational home will be constructed of an innovative modular building system that is hurricane and earthquake proof. Due to global warming and North Carolina's volatile weather, a durable building that can withstand strong wind and airborne debris is essential.  The Emmedue Building System is made of expanded polystyrene modules, enclosed by double-galvanized steel mesh that are completed on site with two layers of concrete. The structure has excellent thermo-acoustic performance, is durable, provides environmental comfort and an energy efficient design. Emmedue uses low environmental impact building materials and the entire construction process is aimed at being energy efficient.  

The home is designed to accommodate a family with two wings connected by a communal space housing the kitchen and living areas. This home will also be fully equipped to house individuals with disabilities.

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The micro home will be constructed of pre-manufactured structural insulated panels developed by Innovative Building Technologies (IBT). IBT’s 240 Quick Home model has a 160 sf ground floor with an 80 sf loft, and a metal roof with built in solar panels. This quick-to-erect housing prototype combines 18-gauge steel studs with a two-part polyurethane foam, creating a lightweight and high strength panel system. These rapidly constructed homes can be assembled and disassembled in hours, easily stored, utilized as on or off-grid and can be temporary or permanent structures. They are currently being explored by the military and cities as disaster relief housing options.
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The multi-generational home is intended to be a temporary housing opportunity for individuals and/or families who are working to exit homelessness.  The first tenants will be chosen by Ray’s the Roof HTH from the backlog of individuals and families currently waiting for a home through the Community Development and Housing Department's Homebuyer Assistance Program (2). 

The core city within the city of High Point is at risk of neighborhood blight. The Homebuyer Assistance Program and the Core City Homebuyer Incentive Program are meant to help eligible individuals with 0% or low interest loans to cover down payments, closing costs and principal reduction. Participants must complete a pre-purchase homebuyer counseling session through the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a Division of Family Service.

The micro accessory dwelling unit will be for an individual or couple who is also working on exiting homelessness. If they are not already on the CD&H's Homebuyer Assistance Program waitlist, they will have the opportunity to apply.



1. Innovative Building Technologies. Emergency & Alternative Housing Structure Models. Innovative Building Technologies. [Online]

2. City of High Point North Carolina. Homebuyer Assistance Programs. [Online]

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