As part of the State Government’s efforts to break the cycle of homelessness in the Peel Region, Premier Mark McGowan revealed the state budget would include $28.1 million to build the 50-unit Common Ground housing facility in central Mandurah.
Common Ground social housing models have already been used across the nation to provide permanent and supportive housing for adults experiencing chronic homelessness and people on low incomes.
Community Services Minister Simone Gurk said in a statement this approach won’t only put a roof over the heads of vulnerable citizens, but it will also provide them with fundamental support services at their doorstep.
“The Common Ground model has a strong track record of improving long-term outcomes for vulnerable people in other jurisdictions, so I am confident the benefits of Mandurah Common Ground will not only be felt by residents, but by the broader Peel community,” she said.
For the growing homeless population and rough sleepers in Mandurah, this is the type of service they have been crying out for.
Matt, who describes himself as a ‘streety’, has been homeless in Mandurah for several years, and says the Mandurah homeless community feels forgotten and believes something like this should have happened years ago.
‘They should have these all over Mandurah, not just one block,” he says.
The current COVID crisis and housing boom have only increased the difficulty of low-income earners and disadvantaged people throughout Mandurah who are struggling more than ever to find affordable housing.
Low-income earners across Mandurah are also struggling with increased rental prices and long waiting lists for social housing.
The Common Ground apartment complex site will be built on the corner of Allnutt Street and Dower Street in Mandurah.
The Department of Communities says this site was chosen for its proximity to public transport, local amenities and a range of public services such as primary health services.
However, many residents living in close proximity to the new development have expressed their concerns and frustrations about the development project.
During a community information session, locals raised questions about security in the area, parking, effects on house pricing and privacy.
Mandurah resident, Tara Edwards, lives on Gray Street just a few houses down from the Common Ground development site and says she is concerned about the potential of anti-social behaviour increasing in the area.
“My kids play in the park just across the road, and with this new complex at our doorstep, I don’t know if they’ll be safe to do that anymore,” she says.
Other residents described the initiative as ‘ludicrous’ and a ‘disservice’ to community members, and expressed concerns about the changes to safety and security in the neighbourhood.
Community members present at the information session, organised by the department of communities, said they ‘had no voice’ and their ‘community has no say.’
There was anger at what they felt was a lack of communication, with some residents suggesting the first information received about the development project was a pamphlet they received in the mail the week before the community information session.
The state government says the chosen location for the new common ground facility has already been locked in.