Collaboration to Help Solve Homelessness Finds a Home
5 May 2008 at 10:53 am
An innovative approach to ending homelessness – which has already proven to be a success in the US – will soon be introduced to Melbourne.
The Supportive Housing scheme will emerge under the guidance of Victoria's HomeGround Services and Victoria's Department of Human Services (Office of Housing and Mental Health Services). Described as a groundbreaking partnership between the Brumby Government and Melbourne company Grocon it would see a $50 million supportive housing facility for long-term homeless people built in Melbourne.
The development, on the edge of the CBD, would provide a home for up to 120 people, with the support of health services, training and employment help on-site.
The supportive housing approach was based on the successful New York model called Common Ground which has reduced street homelessness in that city by 25 per cent since 2005.
CEO of HomeGround Services, Stephen Nash, said the introduction of HomeGround Supportive Housing to Melbourne would create a safe, long-term affordable housing and support service for chronically homeless people with complex needs.
Nash, who experienced the service first hand during a study tour of the US last year says HomeGround Supportive Housing recognizes people need a home first, followed by time to deal with the personal issues that can lead to or be exacerbated by homelessness.
He says offering homeless people access to safe, affordable housing is the first step to ending their homelessness.
HomeGround Supportive Housing integrates clients into a mixed housing community – low income workers, students and homeless people – with a focus on providing a safe environment to develop self-esteem, pathways to independent living and community connections.
A building at 660 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne has been acquired as the site for HomeGround Supportive Housing program and the facility will be purpose built. The HomeGround Supportive Housing model provides a combination of features not currently available in Melbourne – a secure environment with 24-hour controlled access for residents as well as on-site support services.
Nash says the key to this initiative is partnerships. Strong links have been formed with the Office of Housing, Yarra Community Housing, City of Melbourne and Grocon as this exciting project advances. He says HomeGround has formed a partnership with New York's Common Ground and has played a leading role in setting up the Australian Common Ground Alliance, with the Prime Minister's wife Therese Rein as Patron, reflecting the innovative solutions being put in place to deal with homelessness in our cities.
Nash added that there are a range of opportunities for suppliers, contractors and other specialists to contribute and play a role in ending homelessness in Melbourne. The building process is expected to take up to 2 years to complete. For more information visit www.homeground.org.au