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Australian Construction Company Wins Social Justice Award

Wednesday, 19th May 2010 at 3:07 pm
Staff Reporter
Building giant, Grocon awarded for building housing for homeless at 'cost'

Wednesday, 19th May 2010
at 3:07 pm
Staff Reporter



Australian Construction Company Wins Social Justice Award
Wednesday, 19th May 2010 at 3:07 pm

The Mercy Foundation has awarded its annual Social Justice Award to the Australian construction company Grocon.

The Award, announced at the opening of the Mercy Foundation’s new Sydney offices, was presented to Grocon for building a ‘Common Ground’ building ‘at cost’, and for offering to do the same for any other city developing Common Ground buildings.

Common Ground is a model of permanent supportive housing that originated in New York, where services are wrapped around homeless people in the one building, so they can access assistance such as employment services, medical help, mental health services and other agencies with which they often come in contact. It aims to lower homelessness over time as it offers a permanent, secure home.

The Grollo family-owned company, Grocon, is building a Common Ground facility for the chronically homeless and low income earners in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, in partnership with the Victorian Government, Yarra Community Housing and HomeGround Services. Common Ground Melbourne is an 11 storey building, designed to accomodate up to 131 homeless people in 'supported' tenancies and 30 people in affordable housing, and is being constructed using environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles.

Grocon is building this facility at cost (expected to be $50 million), and it is due to finish around August 2010.


An architectural drawing of the Grollo-built Common Ground project (left), and the Elizabeth Street site (right).

 Justice Jennifer Boland, Chair of the Mercy Foundation, says Grocon is a great example of how the business sector can be actively involved in solving homelessness through the creation of permanent supportive house.

Justice Boland says Common Ground is an effective way to assist formerly homeless people to sustain their housing over the long term.

The Mercy Foundation is the NSW member of the Australian Common Ground Alliance. The Foundation advocates, educates and makes grants to organisations who are interested in helping to solve homelessness in Australia, especially chronic homelessness and homelessness that effects women.

To date Common Ground has developed more than 2,500 units of supportive housing in New York since 1991. As well as Victoria, the model has already been adopted in South Australia, with Common Ground projects planned in Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart

For more information about the Mercy Foundation go to


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