Inner Brisbane events, South Brisbane and South Bank

Brisbane finds some Common Ground

An artist's impression of Common Ground Queensland's new project; image courtesy

This is traditionally the time of year when we indulge and relax, but hopefully also turn our thoughts to others who don’t share the same good fortune. Earlier this week construction started on South Brisbane’s newest apartment development, and one that will make a huge difference for many Brisbanites.

We’ve been following Common Ground Queensland since its launch last year and the vision of this organization, inspired by an innovative New Yorker named Rosanne Haggerty,  is simply ground-breaking. When complete in 2012 the 146 apartment building in Hope Street will provide accommodation for our local homeless, and what’s so new about the project is that it will both house them and work to break their cycle of homelessness. Regaining their health and economic independence. Gaining life skills through living alongside local workers.

An online article announcing this week’s start drew the expected public criticisms in the comments section. South Brisbane doesn’t need “more vagabonds”. It should be built out in the suburbs somewhere. And similar.

So why do we support it? On census night 2006 there were 26,000 Queenslanders noted as “homeless”. We can’t shove this group out of sight, we can’t hope the problem will go away and many of the current solutions seem to be failing. We can’t pretend it’s not happening and everyone in Brisbane’s inner city will benefit if programs like this succeed.

Common Ground is a novel concept, a program with a great track record in the US and a history of success. Please donate to the project and its management or visit the website to learn more.

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