Other Common Ground Initiatives
Registry Week is the name given to a methodology used to develop an accurate registry of the needs of the rough sleepers in a city, town or suburb by identifying individuals who are permanently, or frequently, living on the street. The purpose of doing this is to identify the most vulnerable in order to prioritise them for housing and support.
In the early hours of the morning, for 3 consecutive days, teams of volunteers and outreach workers in each city survey homeless individuals sleeping in parks, other public spaces and in emergency accommodation and homelessness services programs. Volunteers use a survey tool called the Vulnerability Index to capture housing, health, institutional history and other relevant data so the most vulnerable people sleeping rough can be prioritised for housing and support services.
In Australia, since 2010, the Australian Common Ground Alliance, often with the on-site support of Rosanne Haggerty’s Community Solutions National team, has driven Registry Week in inner city areas of Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart and Perth, and in Townsville and Western Sydney. The ACGA will support similar projects planned for other capital and regional cities.
Community of Practice
“We are all benefiting enormously from a more disciplined approach to information sharing.”
Sally Langton, Executive Manager Client Services for Common Ground Adelaide
The Australian Common Ground Alliance, supported by funding from FaHCSIA, has developed a national Common Ground Community of Practice.
The Community of Practice aims to advance best practices in preventing and ending homelessness in Australia. The project will facilitate the sharing of evidence-based knowledge, policies, procedures and practices between the managers of Common Ground Support Services around Australia, with the potential to expand to other staff who perform different roles in relation to Common Ground permanent supportive housing.
Sally Langton, Executive Manager Client Services for Common Ground Adelaide, said, “Common Ground Adelaide’s first development opened in 2008 and we’re finding so many of the challenges we encountered back then are common to most of the new Common Ground projects in other states. We are all benefiting enormously from a more disciplined approach to information sharing.”
From early 2013, consultant Sarah Kahn facilitated ten discussions with 37 support team staff and 19 property and tenancy management and concierge staff at Common Ground sites in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane.
“Common Ground and similar permanent supportive housing models are fairly new to Australia. This means problem solving often happens in isolation, without the influence of relevant perspectives and experiences of others. A Community of Practice can jump-start peer-to-peer learning and connect local pockets of expertise,” said Sarah.
The Community of Practice is ongoing with monthly teleconferences between Common Ground Support Managers and Tenancy Managers facilitated by ACGA member Felicity Reynolds.
During Brisbane Registry Week in June 2010, 231 people were surveyed and the work of housing the most vulnerable started immediately. The Micah Projects Street to Home team continues to add people to the register. By January 2013, this had grown to 547 people surveyed, with 220 vulnerable and chronically homeless people housed by ACGA member Micah Project’s 50 Lives 50 Homes campaign partners.
Following Registry Weeks in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart, the Australian Common Ground Alliance supported organisers of the 50 Lives 50 Homes Western Sydney campaign to deliver the first ever Vulnerability Index survey of rough sleepers in Sydney’s outer west. Almost 150 homeless people completed the survey and of these, 42% (66) were assessed as vulnerable.