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Our Service Model

This proposed service model represents the Common Ground Canberra Board’s view of what should work, based on experience elsewhere. However, at this early stage of planning, we acknowledge that the ACT Government will need to make the final call about service needs and responses, based on the best advice available. 


Tenant Eligibility & Mix:
The proposed service model takes as its starting point the service parameters that have been proposed by ACT Government:

  • The physical form to contain 40 one bedroom units, and spaces to enable services to be provided on site, plus informal common areas to encourage social inclusion.

  • The tenants to be 50% formerly homeless people and 50% low income.

  • Tenants to be over 18 years of age, singles or couples, but no children.


Tenant Referral and Selection:

Common Ground Canberra will work with the ACT Central Intake Service ‘First Point’, and liaise with services best able to identify homeless people and those at serious risk, eg St Vincent de Paul ‘Street to Home’, and women’s support services.

Selection criteria will have regard to the needs and safety of other tenants of the Common Ground community, and to the overall social mix in the facility.


Principles of Tenant Support Services:

  • Tenant needs and aspirations to be reflected in service design and delivery

  • Services need to be integrated and tailored to the often complex needs of formerly homeless people

  • Goal setting and case planning are fundamental, through development of a trusting relationship with support workers

  • CG Canberra will provide some core service on site, but a key function will be effective linking with the broader service system, according to needs

  • Ultimate aim is to move people beyond crisis and vulnerability, and into employment


Summary of on-site staffing needs:

  • Tenants’ Support: Manager, counsellors, support workers

  • Security: concierge

  • Tenancy/Building Manager and maintenance/cleaning staff


The recurrent costs for these positions would be partially covered by rental income.


Service Coordination:

In consultation with ACT Government, Common Ground Canberra will appoint an agency to operate the Common Ground service, including facility and tenancy management, and service coordination.


Formerly homeless people may require a well-integrated mix of services and supports; including physical and mental health, alcohol or other drug treatment/counselling, budgeting and financial skills, access to education, training or employment, social and recreational options, and general living and social skills.


Case planning and service coordination for individual tenants will be the responsibility of on-site counselling/support staff. Relationships with other agencies providing services to tenants - on or off site – would be negotiated through MoUs.

A Strategic Partnership Group (SPG) will be established to guide the development, implementation and monitoring of the model of service delivery. The SPG would include senior people from key government and community partner agencies.


Stages of Support:

It is likely that more intensive support – from both CG support staff and other agencies – will be needed in the period immediately after entry.


Once a tenant’s health needs and basic living arrangements are stabilised, attention can turn to longer term development needs, and building independence. As progress is made, services will change, and may be reduced or withdrawn.


Progress will not always be in one direction. A trusting, respectful relationship between tenants and the support team will enable early intervention if a tenant is feeling at risk or experiencing a crisis.


Tenant Involvement in Management:

In line with the inclusive approach of CG Canberra, tenants will not only be encouraged to participate in social and educational activities, but will also be encouraged to contribute to management decisions – similar to apartment owners in a Body Corporate - as one means of fostering independence.


Service Outcome Measurement:

A simple, client-focused review tool will be developed and applied at intervals to monitor progress and changing needs. The main aim will be to enable a self-assessment of what differences have been made in each client’s circumstances, and their view of themselves and their potential.


This will complement any other service-specific outcome information applied or required by other agencies who provide or fund service for tenants.


At a higher level, Common Ground Canberra will work with research agencies to determine the extent of the overall difference made by Common Ground housing and support. This could cover, for instance, the Social Return on Investment from this service model, including any costs saved from tenants who may previously have had multiple contacts with hospital emergency departments, mental health crisis services, police, the corrections system, and crisis accommodation.

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