Construction on the Common Ground complex in Dickson is set to begin after Canberra company Richard Crookes Constructions was chosen to build the social housing project.
Consisting of 40 social housing units – a mix of one, two and three bedrooms in two, four and six-storey sections – the development is due for completion in late 2021 and will provide long-term housing for people facing homelessness.
The development application for the government-backed project on the old Downer Club site on Hawden Place Block 25 Section 72 was first lodged in March.
Half the units will go to the long-term homeless or people at risk of being homeless and half to those on low-incomes shut out of the private rental market. The project includes on-site health, social and financial support for residents.
The project is the second Common Ground complex to be built in Canberra following construction of 20 one-bedroom units in Gungahlin in 2015.
Common Ground board member Diane Kargas Bray said they are looking to operate a social enterprise café and art group on the site, and a community choir.
“We know the Common Ground model builds community, but it also takes a community to help it grow and flourish,” she said.
“We are looking forward to working with the local and wider Canberra community, schools and colleges, business and philanthropists to support some of the fit-out and future programs that will engage the residents and the community to continue to be involved.”
Turning the first sod yesterday (1 September), Housing and Suburban Development Minister Yvette Berry said the project would focus on supporting women and children, families and single parents.
“Common Ground is different from traditional homelessness support services because it locates safe and secure accommodation alongside vital supports and services that help tenants break from the cycle of homelessness, stay housed, improve their connections to health, education and employment, and live independently,” she said.
“A good secure home is fundamental to so many parts of life. The Canberra community has always shown its willingness to give to the greater good and a key to the success of Common Ground Gungahlin was the positive community response in donations to get residents established.
“I hope that will be repeated in Dickson.”
A tender will go out in 2021 for tenancy management and support provisions.