A place for safety, reflection and retreat
- 3 March 2021 11:42AM
In Wide Bay-Burnett, a new shelter for young people is bridging the gap between home and support through good design.
Door42 provides safe and secure accommodation for young people experiencing homelessness and its unique design helps to blend the feel of a home with the reality of 24-hour live-in care.
“Door42 is very much about helping young people feel like they’re at home here,” says Peter Meier, an area manager at Regional Housing Limited, who are funded by the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy to manage the centre.
“It’s such a pleasant environment for the young people to walk in to. Many have come from fractured homes and have been forced to leave for various reasons, so creating a homely and supportive environment is key to a sense of belonging, community and ultimately independence.”
The main building comprises a community support area at the front, where young people can knock and ask for help. Behind that, is a separated shared living area for four young people and live-in support. There are four separate independent units at the back.
Eighteen-year old Shakira lived at Door42 for five months in a separate unit and says her experience enabled her to move on to long-term private housing.
“Without Door42, I don’t know where I would be right now. It’s just the best opportunity I could have had in my life at that point in time,” she says.
The design reflects the surrounding bushland and beach—with open plan living, natural timbers and a relaxed, comforting vibe. It’s both homely and sustainable—with thoughtful landscaping and materials, bicycle storage, communal lawns and solar panels.
“I loved the amount of space they gave us at Door42. It didn’t look that big, but there are a lot of rooms to be able to grow from when I first arrived there,” Shakira says.
“It was peaceful outside; it had the perfect amount of breeze. And the staff were amazing too – it was just good to be surrounded by positive people who want the best outcome for you.”
Architect Paul Curran of Push Architects, says he wanted to create a homely and stable environment for young people.
“The areas of play and creativity are balanced with spaces for privacy and retreat,” he says.
“Young people can have their privacy in their rooms or be in the lounge room with their house mates or outside having a cup of tea.
“We did little things like add pinboards and splashes of colour to the communal areas. We put the driveway along the north side to open up the side of the house to more sunlight. There are secure gates and windows with screens allowing for cross ventilation throughout the accommodation.
“And when you’re inside, you look out on the basketball court, seating areas and gardens with flowering plants and bird-attracting trees.
“It’s really peaceful here. Door42 has become a pathway to a new life for a lot of young people.”