On Friday 4 November at the fifth anniversary celebrations of Mission Australia Housing’s Common Ground Sydney building in Camperdown, Mission Australia will call for more Housing First models across the nation for people who are experiencing long term homelessness. The celebrations also coincide with the Housing and Homelessness Ministers’ Meeting in Sydney.

The celebrations will take place at Common Ground Sydney in Camperdown between 10:30am and 2:00pm. More than 50 tenants, community members, staff and community groups will join the festivities which will include a tenant art gallery, street art, information stalls, gift bags and a barbecue.

The official ceremony at 11:00am will include speeches by Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Tanya Plibersek MP, Member for Sydney, Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans and two tenants. A singing performance by a tenant will conclude the ceremony.

Mission Australia CEO, Catherine Yeomans said the outcomes achieved by tenants since the building’s opening in November 2011 point to the need for more Housing First models to be built across Australia.

“We have more than 110 people who currently call Common Ground Sydney home and 10 staff operating at the facility. Celebrating five years is a momentous occasion that we are proud of, particularly as we reflect on some major achievements by our residents.

“Since opening, 108 people who were formerly long term homeless have been accommodated at Common Ground Sydney, with 93 per cent of tenants with high needs being able to sustain their tenancies for more than 12 months. Another fantastic outcome worth noting is that 30 tenants with high needs have lived here for more than four years. When you consider that tenants have formerly been homeless for an average of 13 years, this is a very significant achievement,” said Ms Yeomans.

Ms Yeomans advocated for more long-term Housing First models saying, “Common Ground Sydney operates under the Housing First model which is proven to be one of the successful ways we can address the growing number of people who are chronically homeless. Housing an individual or family in their own home first, and then providing wrap-around supports allows for any other issues to be addressed from the stable base of their own home.”

She continued,

We offer intensive, wrap around supports tailored to people’s individual circumstances to assist them settle into their new homes and address their often entrenched and complex issues. This means tenants can overcome problems which can be enduring relating to chronic homelessness. It also helps them to achieve positive life changes and develop independent living skills.

The socially integrated six storey residential building at Common Ground Sydney includes 104 units, 24/7 concierge service, proactive on-site tenancy and support services as well as a gym, community kitchen, art room, computer suite, clinical consultation rooms, roof garden, communal lounge, library, courtyard, BBQ area and secure bicycle storage.

Mission Australia Housing own and run more than 1,000 long-term social and affordable rental properties across Sydney which provide much needed housing for low and moderate income households. Mission Australia’s community services work to tailor support to each tenant’s needs and link them to safe, permanent and sustainable accommodation.

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