At 11.59pm Wednesday 15 September, tenants at Mission Australia’s Common Ground facility in Camperdown, Sydney emerged from a 14-day lockdown.

The building was placed into lockdown from Thursday 2 September under Public Health Orders to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant after four tenants tested positive to COVID-19 and all tenants were identified as close contacts.

Mission Australia supported NSW Health’s decision to take the lead on the public health response for the 104 social and affordable homes, after the charity was notified on Sunday 29 August that two tenants had tested positive to COVID-19, and a further two tenants tested positive on Wednesday 1 September. Regular onsite COVID-19 testing and vaccinations were provided during the lockdown period.

Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has been at the frontline of the lockdown at Common Ground including tenants, Mission Australia staff, NSW Health and NSW Police, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), the cleaners, security and other tenancy support teams and local community organisations for their perseverance and remarkable resilience and compassion during this challenging two weeks in lockdown.

“Every person who lives and works at Common Ground has played an important role in keeping themselves, their neighbours, their loved ones and friends and the broader community safe.

“We are relieved the lockdown helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among the people we serve at Common Ground. As COVID-19 cases rise in the Inner West, we also urge Common Ground tenants to remain vigilant, stay safe and follow NSW Health advice to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“As a community housing provider, community services provider and charity working with people who are vulnerable including many tenants who have experienced long term homelessness or housing insecurity, Mission Australia’s ongoing priority has been the safety and wellbeing of everyone at Common Ground. Treating the people we serve at Common Ground with dignity, respect and care is fundamental to the way we work and has been our focus from the outset of the lockdown.

“Significant Mission Australia resources were committed to supporting and caring for people living at Common Ground throughout this challenging fortnight and beyond.

“I am proud and humbly grateful for the incredible way that more than 120 Mission Australia staff across many areas mobilised and worked together around the clock to deliver 24/7 support to ensure our tenants were supported, cared for and their needs met during the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown at Common Ground. Mission Australia staff will continue providing support and care to the people we serve at Common Ground after the lockdown.

“The responsiveness and level of support provided by Mission Australia staff has been outstanding and prolific, and included a dedicated in-bound and out-bound call centre staffed by our tenant care team dedicated to meeting tenant needs, as well as on-the-ground logistics personnel to package and source food tailored to people’s dietary needs, provide supermarket gift vouchers, pet supplies, essential items, entertainment packs, information and daily newsletters. Other support included complimentary laundry for those without washing machines, dog walking as well as access to health, mental health and wellbeing resources and services.

“I’d also like to thank NSW Health, NSW Police, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), cleaners, security and other tenancy support teams and local community organisations for working together to ensure the safety of tenants and staff, and to provide a range of supports - including medical and mental health support - and supplies to people living at Common Ground throughout the lockdown.

“We are so grateful for the tremendous community support and donations from our fantastic partner organisations. We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to our community partners who jumped into action and provided food, personal care packs and other essentials for our tenants who needed them; Oz Harvest, RSPCA, Addison Road Community Organisation, Plate It Forward, Coles, Rural Fire Service, Health Share, Resilience NSW, Hillsong, Living Hope Church, City of Sydney, Two Good Co, Glad Group and P&G.”

Mission Australia has robust COVID-19 action plans in place nationally across all housing and services, including office spaces and unit complexes. These include rigorous infection control, hygiene, PPE and physical distancing measures. These plans ensure the safe continuity of accommodation and support for tenants and the safety of Mission Australia staff.

For those who would like to donate to Mission Australia, visit missionaustralia.com.au.

About Common Ground

The socially integrated six storey residential building at Common Ground Sydney includes 104 units, 24/7 concierge service and proactive tenancy and support services.

Common Ground operates an integrated Housing First model that gives people who have experienced long-term homelessness a safe and secure place to call home, while providing support services and connections to other supports so they can achieve health, stability and maximise their ability to live independently.

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Purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'