Western Australia’s second ‘Common Ground’ supported housing development will be built in Mandurah.
The announcement of Mandurah as the location for the McGowan Labor Government’s second Common Ground follows engagement between local governments and the Department of Communities, which has been gathering information to better understand requirements for homelessness supports at a local level.
Mandurah was selected as the second Common Ground location after the Department of Communities identified a high number of rough sleepers and people on low incomes and a need for additional homelessness accommodation in the area.
The City of Mandurah’s latest count of rough sleepers found 84 people were without a roof over their head on the night of their survey, and the local government has been proactive in working to identify a suitable site for a Common Ground facility.
Common Ground developments couple safe and permanent housing with tailored support services to help people with complex needs to stay off the streets for good.
These residential apartment complexes are purpose-built for people who are sleeping rough, experiencing chronic homelessness or on low incomes, and are a key part of the State Government’s efforts to break the cycle of homelessness using evidence-based approaches.
Common Grounds are also designed to integrate into their local communities, with commercial and social enterprise spaces often built in to facilitate that engagement.
In other jurisdictions, they have been found to reduce demand for hospital emergency departments, police and justice services.
For example, an evaluation of the Brisbane Common Ground project found that governments can save more than $13,000 per resident a year through their reduced use of other taxpayer-funded services.
The proven Common Ground supportive housing model originated in New York City more than 20 years ago and has since been adopted in a number of other Australian cities.
A total of $35 million has been allocated for the Mandurah and East Perth Common Ground developments.
They are funded through the $222 million Housing and Homelessness Investment Package, which was announced in December last year to support the implementation of WA’s first 10-year strategy on homelessness.
Since coming to government in 2017, the McGowan Government has committed more than $1 billion in additional homelessness and social housing initiatives.
Other State Government measures to address homelessness include:
- the $34.5 million Housing First Homelessness Initiative to provide stable housing for 170 families a year across metropolitan Perth, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury and Geraldton through rental subsidies;
- $3.8 million to work with an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation on targeted intensive intervention with rough sleepers camping in the vicinity of Lord Street Bridge;
- $10.5 million in WA Recovery Plan funds for specialist homelessness services to ensure immediate delivery of homelessness services to those in need in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- $25 million to develop a 16-bed youth mental health and alcohol and drug homelessness service.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“We want Western Australia to be a place where everyone has a safe and comfortable place to sleep.
“The confirmation of Mandurah as a second Common Ground location is a major step in our efforts to address homelessness in our State.
“Homelessness is a complex issue and we know that short-term crisis responses are only part of the solution.
“That’s why the McGowan Government is drawing on the evidence to deliver policies and initiatives that we know will improve outcomes for vulnerable people.
As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“The City of Mandurah recognises there is a need to respond to homelessness in its community and has been strongly supportive of a Common Ground facility in their area.
“The McGowan Government is driving a major shift in the way we respond to homelessness, because we can’t keep doing more of the same and expect different results.
“Other jurisdictions that have had success in getting people off the streets long-term couple stable housing with supports.
“The benefits of supporting vulnerable people into permanent housing are also felt across the whole community, with better outcomes for taxpayers, businesses owners and first responders.”
As stated by Mandurah MLA David Templeman:
“Homelessness is an issue that growing cities are grappling with across Australia and internationally, and unfortunately Mandurah is no exception.
“The Common Ground model has a strong record in improving long-term outcomes in other jurisdictions, so this facility will give people experiencing homelessness the best chance of getting back on their feet.
“I look forward to working with my McGowan Government colleagues and the City of Mandurah on this project to increase permanent housing and supports for vulnerable members of our community.”
Community Services Minister’s office – 6552 6600