SHAPE Melbourne complete Launch Housing pro-bono refurb

With this week being National Homelessness Week, SHAPE Melbourne is proud to announce its two-year journey to undertake a pro-bono refurbishment of Launch Housing’s 46-bed crisis accommodation centre in Southbank is complete. This comes after phase two of the project wrapped up in late June 2023.

SHAPE first partnered with Launch Housing – a secular Melbourne-based community organisation that delivers homelessness services and housing support to disadvantaged Victorians – in 2020, donating repurposed furniture to the organisation, via ReSHAPE. Following a site visit to the centre and conversation with its employees, the idea was sparked to complete a full refurbishment of all bedrooms and communal areas – the first in 23 years – with the help of subcontractors.

The first phase of the project kicked off in 2021, following a pledge of more than $313,000 in time, materials and tools from generous subcontractors. Over four months, communal spaces and 20 rooms of the facility were upgraded with new wardrobes, kitchen joinery, sinks and taps, desks and shelving, flooring, blinds, and the walls were repainted.

Following the completion of the first phase, SHAPE organised a second annual charity night to gain the necessary support from subcontractor partners to complete the remaining 26 rooms, common areas and the 24-hour front desk and reception. An incredible 37 subcontractors and suppliers once again pledged their skills, time and materials to bring the combined total support to more than $700,000.

The second phase kicked off in March 2023 and ran over three months. Through its ReSHAPE program, SHAPE Melbourne was able to salvage and repurpose more than $200,000 high-quality building materials and furniture from other projects that was destined for landfill. This included a significant proportion of joinery repurposed from project site demolition.

Adam Head, General Manager of Victoria at SHAPE, says: “Across the timespan of the project, we developed a well-choreographed and mutually respectful relationship with everyone at Launch Housing, thanks to the support and hospitableness of staff and clients, which allowed us to work in such a sensitive environment.

“A fresh and welcoming environment can play a significant role in mental wellbeing, and we are so proud to have been able to create a rejuvenated space for Launch Housing. I would like to thank everyone who made this idea a reality. In addition to their ‘day jobs’, the effort put in by our subcontractors, suppliers, and people over the last of two years is worthy of enormous recognition.”

Yassin, Site Manager at Launch Housing Southbank, said:

“These spaces not only offer physical comfort but also send a powerful message to those going through tough times – that they are deserving of care and support.

“We are immensely grateful to SHAPE and all the subbies for their remarkable generosity.”

We would like to thank Faye Watson for the creation, planning and coordination of the entirety of this project. We also give a special thank you to Aiden Barnes and Jessica Pike for giving a technical structure to the idea by applying estimating and programming expertise, and our site and project managers, Andrew Bray, Vlad Grinberg, Hannah Hoang-Le and Annaliese Van Wijk.

Deserving of the highest accolade, our unbelievably generous subcontractors:

iRisC, Acoustic Interiors Australia, Aflux Interiors, Alessi Design Group, AMP, Aspen Interiors, Baseline, BRL, Corporate Window Film, Dulux, Elecflight, Expert Demolition, Esjay, Exel Seal, Expert, Expert, Demolition, IBM, Jazpat, JCA, Laminex, LCS, Lockwood Flooring, Lovelight, Lume Electrical, Mediterranean Painting, Mentes Joinery, PACE, Profectus, Rockstar Sealing, Revert Group, South Melbourne Glass, SPI Plumbing, Trump Flooring

The impact of such kindness has been so touchingly expressed in the words of a Launch Housing client, which we have been generously allowed to publish:

“When I got here, I was broken. I had nothing and I didn’t know where I was supposed to go… I was given my room and I expected that I would be in a prison cell. Instead I got to the room… and I instantly felt like I was in someone’s spare room at their house. It was beautiful. I dropped my bags down and went straight to bed. It was the first proper sleep I had in months. I could see a future again for the first time in ages and I knew I would be comfortable here. I can’t thank you enough.”

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