Women and their children fleeing domestic violence as well as women over 55 unfortunately make up a significant cohort in our community who are at risk of chronic homelessness. Women’s Housing Limited (WHL) is a Victorian NFP (not for profit) organisation that provides low cost housing specifically for this group of vulnerable women and their children.

Foreground Architecture have been working in collaboration with Plan A Project Management as part of Women’s Housing Limited (WHL’s) consultant team to deliver secure, affordable new homes for vulnerable women in Victoria.  In total 128 new homes are being built within eight new dedicated housing developments located across the South Western Victorian regional centres of Portland, Warrnambool, Camperdown, Hamilton and Winchelsea.  A site in Pakenham is also included in this new housing bundle. The project is being funded by Homes Victoria as part of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build and is being delivered in partnership with Women’s Housing Ltd.

Foreground were engaged to provide site feasibility studies and masterplans for each of the regional sites. Our drawings were included in the town planning applications which were managed by Urbis and Plan A PM.  The combined skills of our team ensured the project was steered as smoothly as possible through the complex web of planning and other regulatory issues that typically face new residential developments.

Anonymity was a key consideration in the design. The methodology ensured that the new developments didn’t flag the housing as being “different” or “special” but rather to have it blend it in seamlessly with the surrounding residential context. A significant proportion of women occupying these new homes will be fleeing family violence and they do not need the increased visibility or stress that can be generated by living in custom designed “novelty” housing that identifies the residents as being “different”. Template housing plans were therefore used, drawn from the catalogues of several local volume builders ensuring that the homes looked “normal” and could also be built cost effectively.

Construction on all sites is now well progressed and due for completion in the coming months. Foreground Architecture are grateful to be part of such a worthy project providing much needed secure new housing for women and their children in vulnerable life situations. These projects will create positive social impact for their whole communities.

Project team:

Women’s Housing Limited (WHL) – Judy Line

Project/Development Manager: Plan A PM, Daniel Milentijevic

Architect: Foreground Architecture, Riordan Gough / John Mercuri / David Fisher / Yale Teo / Jack Brown / James Pullin / David Veidt / Nawar Kunda

Town Planning Consultant: Urbis, Rebecca Lyons / Bryn Greenhalgh

Landscape: Perry Mills & Associates

Structural & Civil Engineers: PM Design Group

Building Services Engineers: Elev8 Consulting Services