More housing for more Canberrans in need: ACT Greens call for more housing stocks at Common Ground Gungahlin

As demand for crisis and affordable housing grows in Canberra, the ACT Greens today called for an additional building at the Common Ground housing site in Gungahlin.

“Since it opened in 2015, the Common Ground model in Gungahlin—made up of 40 units—has provided significant support to those in need of crisis and affordable housing,” Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“As the Government already owns the surrounding vacant land on site, it would be simple and cost-effective to duplicate the current building, expanding housing opportunities to help both Canberrans experiencing homelessness, and those in need of affordable housing.

"The 40-unit complex is right next to the Gungahlin Town Centre. Half of the units provide homes to those who are experiencing homelessness, with the remaining 50% offered as affordable rental homes," Ms Le Couteur said.

“It would also be cost-effective to expand the current site, where health, counselling and community support services are at the ready. There are significant efficiencies to be had where clients are provided services from a centralised location and don’t need to be duplicated,” Ms Le Couteur said.

When the model first launched in 2014 after inclusion in the 2012 Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement, Greens colleague and then-Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury said the development of Common Ground would not have been possible without the cross-community support for the project.

“Since that time, there remains an enormous amount of support for this housing model among housing stakeholders, local community groups and Gungahlin residents,” Ms Le Couteur added.

An initiative that started in New York, Common Ground is an effective model of responding to homelessness and has since been successful in many other cities. It aims to not only provide permanent housing, but also support to formerly homeless people over the longer-term—recognising that stability is more likely to be achieved if an individual has somewhere permanent and safe to live.

Last week, a new report showed the number of people sleeping rough in the ACT almost doubled between 2011 and 2016 as Federal government spending on homelessness services and social housing dropped.

In April, the ACT Greens put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for a minimum proportion of social housing to be maintained, and increased supplies of affordable rental housing in the Territory—a motion that ACT Labor did not support.