Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Common Ground

This week and next week at Urban Seed we're doing some orientation stuff to start off the year. It's basically training and team building, and this year we're also trying to connect with some of our neighbours a bit, like Dave Wilson and Simon Holt.
This morning Dave Wilson from City of Melbourne came over and was talking to us a bit about how his faith informs his work as a councillor. It was particularly interesting hearing from him about Common Ground, a project he visited in New York City last year, in which inner city hotels and apartment block are being renovated and turned into affordable accommodation for chronically homeless people. There's also support services available for the people who live there, right in their own homes. A few people from Melbourne had been over there visiting at about the same time, and they're in the very early stages of starting a similar project in Melbourne.


Tab said...

That sounds really interesting - the project that is. I wonder how it would work here. Also who funds something like that? Is it designed to be self sustainable? Also wondering if it is something helpful or if it would just turn bad like high density housing commission areas? What would the organisers do to stop this?

Christop said...

I think the project in New York is funded by a mix of government money and money from trusts and foundations. Apparently the Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund is interested in supporting a similar project in Melbourne, and the Victorian Office of Housing has been given decent budget increase, some of which could be put toward such a project.
It sounds like it has been helpful for most people who've been living in the buildings (it's apparently resulted in an 87% reduction in homelessness in the area around Times Square, where one of the buildings is), but I don't know that much about why that is.