Brian Davies

The Keystone in Eugene, Oregon, is providing permanent supportive housing for families experiencing chronic homelessness. The property became a reality through the partnership of Homes for Good, the public housing authority for Lane County; the county; and ShelterCare, a nonprofit that provides supportive services to low-income populations.

Since the community was completed in August 2021, 15 families who were previously homeless now have a place to call home.

“Since being housed, one mother was able to find a job as she no longer had to worry about finding a home for her and her children. Since then, she has signed up for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program in hopes of further pursuing financial independence,” noted the nomination. “This development can be replicated in any city where partnerships between government and nonprofit sectors unite for the benefit of those who need housing the most.”

MWA Architects designed The Keystone to impact the neighborhood minimally. To match the scale of the surrounding single-family homes, the designers divided the 15 units into three two-story buildings. Separating the apartments created nodes between each building that break the form and allow sunlight and people to flow through the property. Large unit windows line the sides of each building, allowing more opportunities to introduce natural light into the apartments.

In addition, the designers chose a pitched roof to reflect the style of the surrounding neighborhood, incorporating contemporary elements. A light gray covers the face of the building, with dark gray sides bookending the apartments. Bright yellow accents on the doors and sides contrast the grays, adding a playful detail that draws the eye toward the apartments.

The Keystone also features a small playground, garden beds, on-site laundry facilities, a community room, secure bike storage, and offices for property management and supportive services.