Happy is place to hang, chat

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 21 April 2013 | 19.55

A SENSE of community is growing at the Campbell St site of the Common Ground housing project.

Two Hobart sites with 97 units in total are home to 80 tenants, including 32 formerly homeless.

A Goulburn St site opened last June and Campbell St in December. They provide permanent accommodation to long-term homeless and people on low incomes.

Campbell St tenant Justine Renshaw, 23, who works as a hotel housekeeper, moved to Common Ground in December.

She had been house-sharing and was keen to move out on her own but found the private rental market too expensive.

Ms Renshaw was one of several Campbell St tenants taking part in a Master Cook program in which polytechnic teacher Sally Dabner gives residents cooking classes.

It's one of several opportunities provided to tenants to help them feel included in the Common Ground community.

"It's great there are programs like this to get us together," she said.

Carlee Williams, 39, said she had been spending nearly all her income on private rent before moving to Common Ground.

The job seeker said she had found living in a semi-communal environment to be a confidence booster and she had enjoyed getting to know people.

Marc Beeton, who has lived at Common Ground for two weeks, said securing a unit had been a 14-month process.

Mr Beeton, who was referred to Common Ground by a Centrelink worker, said it was frustrating that securing affordable accommodation took such a long time for people living on the streets.

Mr Beeton said he had been homeless for years, living in men's shelters, sleeping on friends' couches and in his car.

"[Housing authorities] can kick someone out in four days but they can't house someone in four days," he said.

He said he hoped having a permanent home would allow him to take part in programs helping homeless people.

This week Common Ground and the Salvation Army will release the results of a year-long survey of Hobart's homeless.

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