Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Common Ground Camperdown Gains Development Approval

Joint Media Release with:

  • Frank Terenzini, NSW Minister for Housing

An innovative project in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Camperdown to help homeless people move from the street to a home has been given development approval by the City of Sydney.

Federal Minister for Housing Tanya Plibersek, NSW Minister for Housing Frank Terenzini and NSW Member for Balmain, Verity Firth today visited the Common Ground site in Camperdown where 104 self-contained one and two bedroom apartments will be built.

Ms Plibersek said the Camperdown project is based on the internationally recognised Common Ground supportive housing model, originally developed in New York in the 1990s.

“Common Ground goes further than offering a roof over people’s heads by providing the kind of long term support required to break the cycle of homelessness,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Tenants will have access to a range of support services including health, counselling, vocational training, living skills and financial management along with training and employment opportunities.”

Mr Terenzini said Common Ground has been a successful model in substantially reducing street homelessness and helping people achieve and sustain long term and stable accommodation.

“The Common Ground model gives homeless people and those at risk of homelessness access to long term supported housing rather than short term crisis housing,” Mr Terenzini said.

“Common Ground’s New York founder, Roseanne Haggerty, has inspected the site here at Camperdown and has given her full support to the project.”

Ms Firth said the initiative recognises the complexity of homelessness and the variety of services needed to assist people to exit homelessness and break the cycle of homelessness.

“Mission Australia Housing will be the property and tenancy manager and has worked in partnership with Housing NSW and Grocon on the design of the building and the development of the support services model,” Ms Firth said.

“Half the units will be tenanted by former rough sleepers, while the remainder will be used for affordable rental housing to enable a social mix, another key characteristic of the Common Ground model.”

The Australian and NSW Governments are investing in the project through A Place to Call Home – a joint initiative by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to build 750 new homes for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Together, both Governments are contributing over $77.5 million the initiative in NSW. Common Ground Camperdown is expected to be completed in 2011.

The Rudd Government is spending $4.9 billion over four years to address homelessness, with an additional $400 million from the States and Territories.