Common Ground

Common Ground is a model of permanent, supportive housing in a purpose-built complex, for adults who have experienced chronic homelessness or are low income earners.

In December 2019, the State Government announced $35 million of capital funding for the planning, design and construction of two Common Ground facilities in Western Australia.

The Common Ground project is a key part of All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10 Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020–2030. It will work towards ending rough sleeping, improving Aboriginal wellbeing, and providing innovative housing programs.

The first Common Ground facility will be in East Perth, on the corner of Hill Street and Wellington Street. A second facility will be developed in the City of Mandurah.

Delivery of the East Perth facility forms part of the Perth City Deal through which $36 million will be invested to deliver homelessness housing projects in WA, in partnership with the Australian Government and City of Perth.

What is Common Ground?

Common Ground is a model of permanent, supportive housing in a purpose-built complex, for adults who have experienced chronic homelessness or are low income earners. The model is based on a ‘housing first’ approach, where people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping are placed in housing as a first priority and provided with wrap around supports.

The Common Ground model originated in New York City more than 20 years ago and has been adopted in other Australian states including Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Common Ground model provides dedicated, tailored support services that address the root causes of homelessness. Common Ground facilities in Australia have successfully provided stable accommodation for formerly homeless people and reduced costs to other government services such as the health system.

The facilities typically range in size from 40 to 100 self-contained apartments. They are designed to be environmentally sustainable, disability accessible and culturally safe acknowledging the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience homelessness.

How can I find out more?

Further information will be uploaded on this page as the project progresses.

Please visit Engage Perth to register for project updates and participate in conversations around the project.

If you have any queries or require any information provided in an alternative format please email commonground@communities.wa.gov.au.

Resources

See our Resources page for more additional information.

Frequently asked questions

What is Common Ground?

Show more

Common Ground is a model of permanent, supportive housing in a purpose-built complex for people who have experienced chronic homelessness or are low income earners.

The Common Ground project is a key part of All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10 Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020 - 2030. It will work towards ending rough sleeping, improving Aboriginal wellbeing and providing innovative housing programs.

The Common Ground model originated in New York City more than 20 years ago and has been adopted in other Australian states including Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Common Ground model provides dedicated, tailored support services that address the root causes of homelessness. Common Ground facilities in Australia have successfully provided stable accommodation for formerly homeless people and reduced costs to other government services such as the health system.

Why have you selected Hill Street?

Show more

The City of Perth has the highest number of people who are sleeping rough in the State. According to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, 272 people were living in improvised dwellings, tents, or sleeping out (‘rough sleeping’) in Statistical Area Level 3 – Perth which takes in the City of Perth as well as parts of some surrounding suburbs. Department of Communities (Communities) are sourcing current Local Government Area data as we estimate the total number may have increased since the 2016 census.

In addition to available Census data, essential site criteria were used to inform the location of the first Common Ground facility. The site criteria included a set of principles which must be in place to support a successful Common Ground model. This criterion included proximity to primary health services, community support services and public transport. Common Grounds across Australia show us the importance of locating the facility where there are good links to local amenities and infrastructure, of which Hill Street is.

How will the facility and its tenants benefit from the Wellington Square redevelopment?

Show more

Wellington Square is going through an exciting enhancement, with construction currently underway to redevelop features in inspiring and innovative ways. Residents and their visitors/families will be able to access the facilities including the place of reflection, an intergenerational play space and barbeque and picnic facilities, whilst also enjoying the open parkland and recreation areas.

How big will the Common Ground facility be?

Show more

The facilities typically range in size from 40 to 100 self-contained apartments. They are designed to be environmentally sustainable, disability accessible and culturally appropriate, acknowledging the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience homelessness.

What features are planned for the building?

Show more

There are Common Ground facilities across Australia including Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. Typical Common Ground facilities comprise of self-contained apartments, commercial space for local businesses or a social enterprise, indoor communal spaces, shared function and meeting rooms, and communal outdoor areas.

How will government ensure that neighbours and nearby residents are not adversely impacted?

Show more

Communities will work closely with the City of Perth, local neighbours, business owners and services to ensure Common Ground will be an asset to the local community. The community will also have a number of opportunities to have their voices heard in regard to the facility. Community information sessions have been held in East Perth to hear questions or concerns and Communities continue to engage with the local community. Suggestions for the best way to provide more information or engage the community are welcome and can be directed along with any queries to the Common Ground team via Engage Perth.

Will visitors be allowed into Common Ground?

Show more

Visitors will be permitted, however there will be a 24/7 concierge and security function on site which will oversee this. Policies around visitors will be the responsibility of the contracted Building Management organisation.

What are the planning and approvals processes, and will City of Perth consult us?

Show more

Public works, such as the development of the Common Ground building, do not require approval under a local planning scheme but do require approval under the Metropolitan Region Scheme if they are within the Perth Metropolitan Area. This means the Common Ground development on Hill St; East Perth will need to be approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) or a Development Assessment Panel. The Local Government (in this case City of Perth) will be consulted early in the design process to ensure the City’s planning input is considered in the development of the design and prior to a decision being made on planning approval. This is required by section 6 of the Planning and Development Act 2005. If you have any further queries regarding planning approval processes, please contact City of Perth Development Approvals Team.

Does the City of Perth know about/approve Common Ground?

Show more

The City of Perth has been a strong advocate for supported accommodation solutions within the City to assist with the reduction in people sleeping rough. This includes advocating to the State Government for the location of a Common Ground development within the City of Perth. 

What safety measures will be in place?

Show more

A typical Common Ground facility has 24/7 concierge on site and other appropriate (non-intrusive) security measures to ensure residents are safe. For example, Brisbane Common Ground concierge service focusses on monitoring the building, monitoring access and promoting onsite safety for visitor and residents, ensuring responsible use of communal space and resources and fostering a warm and friendly environment. Staff have effective training on bullying and anti-social behaviour.

Common Ground facilities practise good working relationships with the local community and police to ensure prompt responses to anti-social behaviour and have a strict policy which may result in termination of lease agreements.

Will people be under the influence of drugs and alcohol when accessing this service?

Show more

The Common Ground model is a supportive housing model that will assist residents to address alcohol or drug issues and also support employment and training or emotional well-being. The service will not turn away people who are demonstrating these needs but will respond with a support plan. There will be trained staff on site to support people who are presenting with needs such as these.

What will happen if there is a serious incident on site or outside?

Show more

We know from Common Grounds across Australia and Foyer Oxford development in Leederville that serious incidents are very rare. If this was to occur, emergency services will be called immediately to attend.

Staff will be on site 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and have defined procedures and training for responding to critical incidents.

Who will be involved in the development of the model?

Show more

Design for the development of the service model will take place with government stakeholders, peak bodies, the community sector and people with lived experience.

How can I have my say?

Show more

We are working closely with City of Perth and will be engaging with residents, local business owners and local services. You can visit Engage Perth and opt in to stay informed on the Common Ground project development.

When will construction start?

Show more

We estimate construction for the first Common Ground facility in Perth CBD to commence in the 2021/2022 financial year.

How can I find out more?

Show more

You can register on the Engage Perth web page to receive updates on the project.

We will provide further project updates on this page and via the Engage Perth web page.

Page reviewed 30 June 2021