Frequently Asked Questions about the Canberra Housing Proposal – Based on the Common Ground Model

What is Common Ground ?

 

Common Ground is the first step towards ending chronic homelessness. Common Ground involves a partnership between community groups, the private sector and government. 

 

The Common Ground model recognises that the chronically homeless need more than a roof – they need a home.  Common Ground Supportive Housing successfully delivers a permanent solution by providing housing with on-site support services tailored to each individual and focused on improving their health, wellbeing and life skills.

 

The Common Ground model creates a strong base to assist and support people to move from homelessness into permanent supported housing.  It provides an environment and community for people who have previously been vulnerable, often living on the streets, through permanent, affordable, safe, high quality supportive housing.

 

Common Ground matches accommodation with personalized support services to ensure people transition ultimately to live independently.

 

Common Ground in Gungahlin is now well established and has encouraged residents to develop plans for their ongoing health and wellbeing.  For many it has provided the opportunity to reengage with study, employment and art programs.

Where did the Common Ground model originate?

Common Ground was a not for profit organisation based in the United States it was first started in New York in the early 1990’s by Roseanne Haggerty and is increasingly recognised in Australia as an effective model to end chronic homelessness.

Common Ground Principles

 

Safe : Common Ground premises are physically a safe environment: controlled entry (key or keycard access to common and private areas), on-site security up to 24 hours or as required and monitoring of entry points.

Permanent: Once tenants are housed, this will be their permanent home as

long as they want, and conditions of tenancy are met.

Affordable: For most tenants, this means that rents will be set at no more than 25% of gross income.

High Quality:  Common Ground housing will look attractive, with both street appeal and a high standard of interior finish. Tenants are proud to live there

Supported: Common Ground is based on the Supportive Living model; social tenants are helped to find services to assist with rebuilding their lives and their connections with the community. 

A mix of tenants:  Common Ground has a mix of social housing tenants who need support and affordable housing tenants in employment or study.  This allows a genuine community to develop, and provides good role models and connections for social tenants.

 

Common Ground is a not for profit organisation based in the United States it was first started in New York in the early 1990’s by Roseanne Haggerty and is growing in popularity in Australia as the best model to support and end chronic homelessness.

The first Common Ground Canberra is Gungahlin

The Gungahlin town centre is well located, close to a range of amenities including parks, public transport, shopping, health and social services, and employment, and within a medium density mixed residential and commercial zone.

 

On site tenancy and support staff are a critical part of the Common Ground facility. The facility should provide appropriate office spaces for staff (including the concierge and any tenancy staff) and appropriate rooms for the provision of support services.

 

A trusting respectful relationship between the tenant and the support team enables early intervention if a tenant is experiencing a crisis or feels at risk or vulnerable.

Why do we need a second Common Ground?

 

Canberra still has a number of chronically homeless people. While some are sleeping rough on the streets or in parks, the majority are in other forms of insecure housing, including couch surfing, temporary space in spare rooms or garages, sleeping in their car, or cycling between emergency options.  The aim of Common Ground is to end homelessness. 

Why has Common Ground Canberra selected this site?

 

The proposed site is well located, close to a range of amenities including parks, public transport, shopping, health and social services, and employment, and within a medium density mixed residential and commercial zone.

What will Common Ground Dickson look like?

 

The Dickson development will provide a supported and inclusive community for homeless individuals and families as well as low income earners.

 

The building mix will consist of 3 bedroom, 2 bedroom and single bedroom apartments with a total of 40 apartments. 

 

There is an opportunity to establish a social enterprise café on the site. Social enterprise cafes generally work to empower people who have been excluded from work opportunities for various reasons; learning disabilities, homelessness, and those who have struggled with sometime complex issues.  Social Enterprise Cafés build a sense of belonging.

 

There will also be community spaces that will allow for community events and opportunities for a community garden and playground providing access to all businesses and residents in the area to use and enjoy.