Women’s Mobile Refuge Trailer - Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
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Client: Five Keys Schools and Programs

Team: Zoe Parsigian, Julia Grinkrug, Jess Pauly, Deanna Van Buren

Project Type: Mobile

Status: Complete


Women often face obstacles to safety when they’re released from incarceration in the middle of the night. They may find themselves spending the night on the street or taking shelter in an unsafe location, or they may get bombarded by drug dealers and exploiters before they have a chance to figure out their next steps after release. Even if safety is reached, some women face the ongoing need to address a history of abuse and trauma, physical and mental health issues, and reunification with their communities of care.


In collaboration with Five Keys Schools and Programs staff and students, DJDS led a five-day workshop at County Jail #2 in San Francisco with 60 women to create a workable design that would provide space for up to 8 women after release from jail. During these workshops the women expressed what they wanted to see in the space. They designed the layout and selected materials and patterns for the finishes and furnishings in the space.


The Women’s Mobile Refuge Trailer will address some of the challenges these women face by providing a mobile space of refuge for women during the night as they transition from disparaging environments, ongoing support as a drop-in space as they integrate back into their communities, and space for other nonprofit programs that provide services to our most vulnerable women and girls.


DJDS and Five Keys are currently in talks with local service providers to develop a schedule of deployment at select locations throughout the Bay Area. The Center may also be deployed to serve women seeking refuge from human trafficking.