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Solving Homelessness Hinges on Collaboration Built on Compassion and Innovation

After New York and Los Angeles, Seattle has the highest number of homeless in the US yet we are not the third largest city in the country - not by a long shot. Indeed the issue of homelessness here is significant.


The citizens of Seattle seem to have woken up to the stagnation of effectiveness by policy makers and are open to, if not demanding of, outside-the-box ideas being encouraged and brought to the forefront of public awareness. Politics aside, everyone here is desperate to gain ground in seeing people get off the street, with compassion and innovation being top priorities in the city-wide shared desire for positive change.

As members of the community we all have to do what we can to contribute to solving this problem. Perhaps these days it's utopian sentiments that have us thinking the best way to do that is by utilizing our strengths and employing our talents while collaborating with those who hold other valuable abilities. Makes sense. The newest exhibit at Seattle's Pacific Science Center is a splendid example of community talents coming together to create something really special while at the same time striking a dramatic chord with anyone paying attention.

PacSci BlockProject Exhibit open now at Pacific Science Center, Seattle

Both Seattle-born, architects turned collaborating father-daughter duo Rex Hohlbein and Jenn LaFreniere took it upon themselves to utilize their talents as they set out to make a difference. The 125 sq ft self-sustaining Block Home they designed offered the prospect of a paradigm shifting approach to solving homelessness; homeowners could have the Block Home placed in their backyard, giving a homeless person the opportunity of an expanded opportunity for shelter. But the concept of the project became much more than just a solution for shelter.

Rex and Jenn partnered with Facing Homelessness to create the Block Project. The scope of the project is truly a dynamic approach that brings Seattle neighbors together; those with homes, and those without. It also brings the neighbors of the hosting homeowners into the picture; it brings a city-wide consciousness to an innovative approach. The higher project goal is to have a Block Home on every Seattle block. It's a huge endeavor and literally everyone in the city will be effected by and have the opportunity to contribute in some way as the long term implementation of the project unfolds.

As the Pacific Science Center got involved with developing an exhibit showcasing a fully constructed Block Home smack dab in the middle of dinosaurs and dioramas, the potential of what MXTreality had to offer to the project began to emerge.

Innovative, Immersive Technology is how MXT contributes

By contributing immersive tech wizardry to the exhibit we are able to contribute to the spirit of forward thinking innovation that is a hallmark of the Block Project and the collaboration between all the organizations involved. We got to know Bobby, the first Block Home resident very well and have seen firsthand just how well the program is working for him and his host family. It is really quite inspiring to see it all come together. Aside from the exhibit itself, we also created an app that allows you to visualize a Block Home in your very own backyard using Augmented Reality. It's a free download on the App Store, just follow this link to the App Store download

Check out the video we made where those involved tell the story of the Block Project:

If you live in the Seattle area we certainly encourage you to check out the exhibit. It truly is a sight to behold, and a concept to consider.

For more information, please visit the Block Project at

Host family Kim Sherman & Dan Tenenbaum with Robert "Bobby" Desjarlais

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