Damien Chandler spent many years as a rough sleeper, often pulling things out of charity bins to use as blankets in parks, The Age reports.
When he found crisis accommodation, it was hardly a restful place.
“They’re nothing like this at all.”
Damien is referring to Ozanam House, the new 10-level homelessness supercentre on Flemington Road in North Melbourne. It will be Australia’s largest accommodation service for rough sleepers when it opens its doors in the coming weeks.
It began in 1953 as a night shelter for single men, but the redeveloped Ozanam House will welcome women for the first time. It will also be a one-stop centre for support services.
As well as housing for 134 people, including 60 short-term crisis accommodation units, the building will have a range of drop-in health services, including dentistry, optometry and alcohol and drug intervention.
There is also a tech hub, with free wi-fi, cloud storage and a place to recharge phones. A gym, laundry and library are also available, while a cafe will provide meals.
Design choices were made to project a calm environment, with lots of natural light, timber panelling and warm colours.
VincentCare CEO Quinn Pawson said the new centre had been designed through consultation with clients. Feedback around noise levels led to the use sound reduction materials, he said.
“Really the benchmark for us is would we want to live here? If we could answer yes to that question then I think we got it about right,” he said.