Monday, 23 April 2012

Putting Up Walls for Dignity

Over the last few weeks, the Wellington Night Shelter has been upgrading its emergency dormitory accommodation.

Previously, the walls on the dormitory cubicles were waist height offering little solitude. Now they reach almost to the roof, providing increased privacy, space and a sense of security. The next stage in the refurbishment will see lockable doors added to the cubicles.

Barry, a current Night Shelter guest, says, “The new cubicles are great, there is more privacy and space. It gives us dignity and makes us feel respected. It’s really important to feel respected”.

The changes follow current international best practice standards towards providing more human and dignified transitional accommodation. Our Night Shelter currently has 22 hostel rooms, and a similar number of beds in the dormitory.

Many overseas shelters are heading towards hostel-style accommodation in an effort to make the transition to permanent housing more effective. An example of this is the Triage Shelter, run by Rain City Housing, in Vancouver, Canada. Here, each guest has their own room with a window, bed, lamp, night stand, chair and secure wardrobe. Their aim is to help each person who comes to the shelter regain their dignity and self worth through providing innovative and specialised housing support services.

Like Rain City Housing, Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) believes that homeless people deserve respect and a human living environment.

For more information on the Night Shelter and DCM’s commitment to improving homelessness outcomes, please visit: You can find out more about the Triage Shelter at: