City and Branch Technology Launch 3D-Printed Shelters Pilot for People Experiencing Homelessness

Two single-unit structures will provide temporary shelter during the 12 month pilot. 

Chattanooga, Tenn (Friday, July 7) – The City of Chattanooga and Branch Technology today launched a new partnership to pilot the use of 3D-printed, single-unit structures as temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness. 

Branch Technology’s 3D-printed shelters located off 10th St. 

“We’ve made great progress reducing homelessness in Chattanooga, but the work’s not done. We remain focused on closing the gaps that still exist as we shore up our affordable and supportive housing supply over the next 18 months,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “This pilot program is a great example of how public-private partnership can be a force multiplier, coming together around innovative solutions that meet the immediate needs of our homeless community, and I’m incredibly grateful to Branch Technology and Olivet Baptist for partnering with us to make it happen.”

The two shelter units – located off of 10th street on a vacant parcel of land owned by Olivet Baptist Church – will provide a safe, secure location for residents to temporarily reside until they are able to transition to permanent housing. The City of Chattanooga’s Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is managing the site and will provide support and services to the shelter’s occupants, who moved in this week. 

“It’s a privilege to be part of this collaborative effort with the City right here in our backyard,” said Ryan Lusk, Branch’s Chief Executive Officer. “I love that our technology is part of promoting the dignity of people experiencing homelessness. The Branch team is excited to see where this pilot project goes.”

Mayor Tim Kelly tours the shelters with Branch Technology CEO Ryan Lusk and City of Chattanooga Chief Operations Officer Ryan Ewalt

The idea for the shelters was the product of brainstorming conversations between Mayor Kelly and his senior staff, and after a visit to Branch Technology and learning that the company had previously explored 3D printed temporary shelters as part of their desire to give back to the community, the idea started to become a reality. Branch Technology led the design and development of the structures, which are powered, temperature controlled, and fire-safe. 

The City used $19,000 from its innovation fund to cover a portion of the cost for their construction, with Branch donating time for design and project management and Olivet Baptist donating use of the land. If successful at the end of the 12-month pilot, the City will evaluate the possibility of scaling the development and deployment of the temporary shelters at a reduced cost with support from Branch and the philanthropic community. 

Construction of the 3D-Printed Shelters

The shelter units are made of Branch Technology’s CompositeCore, which uses their patented 3D-printing technology to create a structural lattice. This “matrix” lattice was printed according to the design for the unit and combined with robotically-cut fire-rated insulating foam. The CompositeCore panels were shipped to the location on 10th street, assembled in only a few hours, and then finished with an industry-standard cement-based waterproof finish.

Ongoing work to Reduce Homelessness

Earlier this year, the City announced a nearly 40 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness in Hamilton County during 2022. The record-breaking progress was thanks in large part to the Kelly administration’s housing-first strategy, which prioritizes rapid rehousing of residents experiencing homelessness with follow-up services and support as they get back on their feet. The City’s Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and its partners housed more than 1000 residents last year, and hundreds more at risk of homelessness remained housed with support from the Eviction Prevention and Diversion Initiatives. 

The City remains focused on building up its affordable housing supply, including permanent supportive housing units for chronically homeless people to rebuild their lives. Through partnerships with the AIM Center and the conversion of the Airport Inn, more than 130 of these units will become available over the next two years – enough to house and support nearly all of the 156 chronically homeless people identified this January. 

To keep the momentum going in the short-term, the Kelly administration will continue strengthening and expanding partnerships to close service gaps and find housing solutions for residents in need – including through innovative programs like the 3D-printed shelter pilot. Officials will also be working with the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition to prioritize rapid housing for veterans and households with children. 

About Branch Technology

Branch Technology was founded in 2014 with the idea that the built world can be revolutionized through modern technology, lean manufacturing, and design freedom. To that end, Branch exists to make a beautifully built world. Branch’s proprietary technology has been applied on projects ranging from construction to aerospace logistics to artistic sculptures. Visit to learn more about its technology, products, and projects.