As the newest extension of the CareForce, the 9-year public art and creative media collaboration led by artist ACT lecturer Marisa Morán Jahn (SMVisS ’07) with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and key allies, Studio REV- invites elders, caregivers, those living with disabilities, and care advocates to participate in a collaborative design (or “codesign”) session to help envision Carehaus, which will be built in Central Baltimore at 1300-1306 Greenmount Avenue.
“Carehaus” (formerly referred to as CarePod) is an innovative co-housing project where elders, caregivers and their families have independent living units clustered around a series of shared spaces. Designed for care and living, Carehaus’ communal areas enable shared meal-times, past times, relaxation, and more. Congregate care makes caregiving more efficient and safer: caregivers can take turns keeping an eye on those who need close monitoring such as patients with memory loss or supporting each other in tasks that otherwise pose muscular-skeletal challenges such as leaning over to lift heavier elders. Reciprocally, elders can share their experience and if able, help watch over the children of caregivers. This socializing reduces the cost of childcare, keeps elders mentally fit, and passes on invaluable cultural knowledge. Caregivers receive monthly wages for their labor, alongside health insurance, employee benefits, and build creditworthiness.
Carehaus will be built by artist/caregiving advocate Marisa Morán Jahn, architect Rafi Segal, with urban planner/developer Ernst Valery, health/finance expert Ellen Itskovitz, along with Ai-jen Poo and members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance + Caring Across Generations, and organizations including MIT CoLAB, MIT Future Urban Collectives, Studio REV- and community-minded groups. The Carehaus team held an in-person, socially-distanced session, as well as two virtual sessions, on August 17-19 to gather community expertise.