we have been shocked by the housing crisis unfolding before our eyes in tasmania over the last few months.
a disturbing and very sad phenomenon of homelessness is the result of soaring property prices and rents. these times are unprecedented and will most likely worsen.
we feel a sense of responsibility.
our office researched that approximately 1600+ tasmanians alone are currently homeless each night. this includes people who are couch surfing, single mothers & families in caravans & tents. that number could most likely be more. more disturbing is that an out of sight, out of mind approach is standard across all australian cities. people are moved on, bus shelters are strongly lit and bench seats and the like have spikes fitted to discourage sleeping.
the question we pose to the city is "can we be more compassionate and charitable to others?”
we propose that emergency shelter should be embedded into public infrastructure planning along side the usual items such as play equipment, public toilets, bins etc;
we have conceptually designed ‘green walls’ that could be located in parks across every city. behind the green wall is conditioned and fire separated sleeping bays (pigeon holes).
this infrastructure could be individually funded by group & individual benefactors and then managed by the various christian organisations such as city mission and the salvation army who work at the coal face of homelessness.
the green walls would serve as a processing point to identify the needy, to feed them and ultimately find more suitable long term accommodation. (render depicting shelter sited in an under-utilised area of st davids park.) the partial hidden nature of the accommodation behind green walls actually make it more obvious & identifiable over time, much like a sign so the issues we face would be in the open for public discourse. an electronic sign on the wall could indicate the amount of homeless people at any given time.
parks are chosen as they are places of choice for the homeless. this is because they are generally safe spaces and are very quiet early mornings and evenings for discreetness & modesty. public toilets are also available.
the next part of this plan is to provide affordable housing across the city to house the people in need. we are currently working on a range of small low cost houses to deliver.
“housing for the masses” these small houses could be positioned on existing sites such as private property in back yards. government subsidy could help facilitate this.
when individuals realise that society has their back and the city is committed to solving the issue, we believe that mental health will improve and the problem of homelessness will dissolve. hobart could be world leaders and a shining light to others.