A new beachfront building with a sleek, modern design opened a few months ago in the Jaffa quarter of Tel Aviv, Israel. At first glance, it looks like it could be a new luxury condo building. But it is in fact the new Jaffa Homeless Shelter, made possible thanks to a partnership between White Space, the City of Tel Aviv, and Lasova– a nonprofit organization serving the homeless population of Israel.

The goal of the shelter was to create a unique space where the city’s growing homeless population could stay and feel like they were at home or even in a hotel, providing not just physical shelter but also psychological relief. The shelter is located in a strategic location that serves both Jewish and Arab homeless populations.

“This is the first time in Israel that a homeless shelter is being customized with the value of those who will stay here in mind, rather than piecing together donations of used furniture and items,” says Naama Zohar, who was White Space’s project manager for the Jaffa Homeless Shelter.

The White Space team is known for their ability to manage the supply chain of furnishings, fixtures and equipment, provide resources and solutions for designers and architects, keep costs as low as possible, and overcome project challenges swiftly. When architect Yoav Messer became involved in the project, he invited White Space to manage logistics and procure the materials needed in a cost-effective manner.

“We saw an opportunity to leverage our knowledge in these areas to bring this shelter to life,” says White Space Founder and CEO Aytan Litwin. “It’s an important part of our core values as a company to give back to the community.”

While the budget was small, and despite construction happening during Covid, using lesser quality materials was not an option. Consulting with designers, White Space team members customized interior plans so that materials were sturdy enough to handle regular wear and tear while maintaining a comfortable aesthetic that gives visitors a sense of dignity and physically provides them areas for personal space.

“It felt good to be part of such a meaningful project,” Zohar says. ”I believe it benefits our entire team to know we made a difference in people’s lives.”

Photos: Amit Gosher

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