Homelessness – May 25, 2011

Read on Canberra Times website here.

Study to examine needs of homeless

A project to alleviate homelessness in Canberra will move into its next stage of planning with a study into the housing and welfare needs of the city’s most vulnerable people.

The ACT Government has granted the Canberra Housing Proposal $150,000 for the feasibility study.

The group has an in-principle agreement with St John’s Anglican Church to build an 80-100 unit development on Amaroo Street, Reid.

The proposal is based on the Common Ground model, aimed at ending homelessness and providing affordable homes for low-income workers.

Common Ground Alliance ACT chairman Steven Bartos said the tenants would be a 50-50 mix of formerly homeless people and low-income workers.

”By being part of a mix, you’re part of a group where going out and getting a job isn’t regarded as being peculiar,” he said.

Mr Bartos said a range of programs including counselling and health services would be available on site and a 24-hour concierge would provide security to the high-quality building.

Australian Common Ground Alliance executive officer Jennie Churchill said the approach had been successful in other Australian cities and was a cost-effective way of tackling homelessness.

She said the project was aimed at the most vulnerable homeless people, some of whom had been homeless for years and were ”most at risk of dying on the streets”.

The chief executive of partner organisation Anglicare Canberra and Goulburn, Peter Sandeman, said the next step would be to look into what housing and services the tenants would require.

”We’ve started thinking about the type of people that we need to support, single parent families with children and single people,” he said.

”And finding the balance between those populations is some of the work that we’ll need to do in this feasibility study.”

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