In early 2021 a group of local Gold Coast community members led by local State Member Rob Molhoek contacted Common Ground Queensland (CGQ) to organise a visit to Brisbane Common Ground. The group were concerned about the growing levels of visible homelessness on the Gold Coast and wanted to find out more about the Common Ground solution.
A year later Common Ground Gold Coast (CGGC) was registered as a subsidiary organisation of CGQ with a local board consisting of the founding group members joined by two CGQ Directors. The organisation has been formed with the specific purpose of establishing a Common Ground project on the Gold Coast. On the 3rd of August 2022 we celebrated our new venture with a public launch of CGGC, bringing together supporters from the community and Government.
Since the inception of CGGC we have been working hard to gain the momentum required to deliver 200-units of supportive housing on the Gold Coast to house both homeless and low-income individuals. Ideally this building will be located near public transport and job opportunities, with the long-term aim to support vulnerable people to get back to family, work, study and community. A preferred site, owned by the State Government has been identified in Southport and we have engaged with the State Government regarding their intentions for this site.
Following the success of the Brisbane Common Ground project, a Gold Coast project would also rely on the same set of established evidence based supportive housing principles to inform its design and delivery. These principles include permanency, affordability and safety of housing, a mix of tenants to support community diversity within the building, social inclusion, and personalised onsite support services for tenants. CGQ has a proven track record in delivering supportive housing in Queensland with a strong corporate governance system, a financially sustainable operational model and experience in developing effective partnerships that lead to tenancy sustainment outcomes.
According to local data collected by the Gold Coast Homelessness Network, at least 300 people are sleeping rough on the Gold Coast every night, with around 120 of those being long-term chronically homeless. Right now, the Gold Coast has more than 3000 single, couple and family applications on the public housing waitlist, with people expected to have to wait years before there are any vacancies. These 3000 applications include 1800 ‘very high need’ applications and account for close to 5000 bedrooms. The social housing stocks on the Gold Coast have barely changed in the past few years, with only 137 social housing bedrooms being added since 2017. With the cost-of-living crisis going on in Australia, and with the impact that the extensive floods in early 2022 and the COVID19 pandemic has had on the housing situation in Queensland, having accessible and supportive social housing is more necessary than ever before. These numbers showcase the urgency of Queensland’s housing crisis, particularly in large popular areas such as the Gold Coast.