Building a Common Ground
20 Dec, 2013
Construction has commenced on what will be one of Canberra’s most significant projects to address homelessness, providing affordable and stable accommodation and support services to the most vulnerable in the community.
Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, and Minister for Housing, Shane Rattenbury, this morning officially launched construction of the Common Ground facility, which is a key item in the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement and major initiative of the ACT Government.
“Common Ground is a housing model that provides permanent homes and the support to help individuals achieve stability and improvement in their lives,” said the Chief Minister.
“Using a Housing First approach, Common Ground takes people direct from homelessness and follows through with the support they require to stay housed, improve their health and live independently.
“An initiative that started in New York, Common Ground is proven and effective model of responding to homelessness and has since been successful in many other cities across Australia and the world, including Melbourne and Adelaide,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“Being homeless or sleeping rough can be a dangerous and traumatising experience, especially in Canberra’s harsh climate.
“This initiative aims to not only provide permanent housing, but also support formerly homeless people achieve a stable lifestyle through a range of services, including support for medical and mental illnesses through to linking people with training, education and employment opportunities.
“The Common Ground model recognises that stability is more likely to be achieved if an individual has somewhere permanent and safe to live.
“The 40-unit complex is being built close to the Gungahlin town centre. Half of the units will provide homes to those who are experiencing homelessness, with the remaining 50% to be offered as affordable rental homes,” Mr Rattenbury said
Mr Rattenbury said the development of Common Ground would not have been possible without the cross-community support for the project.
“The Common Ground Canberra group, in particular, have been instrumental in advocating for the model in the ACT,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“The ACT Government, with support of the Federal Government, will be investing $17 million for the project. The Snow Foundation has made a generous contribution of $500,000 and we have also received a number of community donations.”
Last month, the ACT Government announced Northside Community Services as the service provider to Common Ground residents and Argyle Community Housing as the tenancy manager.