An Innovative Way to Beat the Housing Crisis

An innovative prefabricated unit designed to meet the social housing crisis accommodation needs has been unveiled in Geelong. The project which has been underway for some time and was due for public reveal during Geelong Design Week, however with COVID-19 seeing an end to public presentations, the public unveiling was cancelled.

So it was behind closed doors on Wednesday 24 March that a small group gathered (with appropriate social distancing space allocations) to officially present the Tiny Home prototype “Prefab21” to stakeholders and media.

Prefab21 is a joint effort between Deakin University and FormFlow. School of Architecture students collaborated with the innovative building tech company to produce the prototype. Chair in Architecture, Prof James Doerfler and teaching coordinator on the project commented that Prefab21 provided the opportunity for Architecture students to engage in a real world, end to end design and build. The completed project is destined for purposeful use with Geelong not for profit organisation, Samaritan House.

“Prefab21 draws on sustainable design principals, using strong durable, recyclable materials and exploits the potential of FormFlows world-first revolutionary bending technology and advanced prefab process”. Prof. James Doerfler

The concept of a ‘Tiny Home’ may inspire thoughts of trendsetters wanting to downsize, live remotely, minimise possessions and be self-sustainable. Whilst these are good virtues, the Prefab21 project has a more philanthropic goal – providing transitional accommodation for men experiencing homelessness.

Figures from the 2016 Census indicate that there are more than 100,000 homeless persons in Australia and in the Geelong region for every 10,000 people, 47 are experiencing homelessness, compared to 27 people per 10,000 in regional Victoria.

The Samaritan House organisation began in 2012 with the plight of understanding, identifying and addressing crisis accommodation shortfalls in the Geelong region. The Prefab21 dwelling enables the organisation to continue their work into providing accommodation to those who have experienced homelessness and through the Prefab21 style accommodation units offer homeless men not only shelter but also safety, dignity, comfort and allow them to begin the process of healing and the time to transition to more permanent housing.

The 4x10m PreFab21 home features a single bedroom, living space and bathroom. Its meets the criteria for six star energy rating and reduced carbon footprint because all component can be recycled. It is the first of seven independent living units that will be installed by Samaritan House in Moolap and used for transition housing purposes.