A Victorian architecture firm has designed 57 portable and affordable studio-sized units that will accommodate some of Melbourne’s homeless population.

Schored Projects has worked with the Victorian government and homeless housing organisation Launch Housing to bring these units to nine vacant VicRoads-owned properties on Ballarat Road in Melbourne’s inner west, which will be leased for five years.

The project has been funded through a $4-million donation from philanthropists Geoff and Brad Harris.

Each unit, which is transportable and comes to the site fully assembled, is 20sqm internally with about eight or nine metres of deck at the front and rear of the unit. At the site, the units are fixed to footings and connected to services.

Inside, the units feature an open plan ground floor with a kitchenette, bathroom and a mezzanine storage space. 

The design has a strong focus on environmental sustainability, featuring high insulation ratings and eaves with large north-facing windows. The core material is a high-pressure laminate, and the fixtures are readily available when in need of replacing.

The project stemmed from Schored Projects’ shortlisted entry in a 2012 design competition run by UK-based charity Building Trust International, which asked participants to design a single-occupancy home within an urban area of a developed country that addressed issue of homelessness and homes for the elderly in our society. 

Approval has been received from the City of Maribyrnong for one Maidstone property and has received a notice of approval for one site in Footscray. The other properties are currently awaiting approval.