Common Ground Community
Common Ground Community|
Up to three-and-a-half million people experience homelessness in a given year.
In New York city, the incidence of homelessness increased 27% from last year,
surpassing even the record numbers of the 1980s. Homelessness is the result
of a complex set of circumstances that force people to choose between food,
shelter, and other basic needs. Lack of affordable housing and lack of jobs
can be compounded by medical and psychiatric problems or substance abuse. Traditional
homeless shelters treat the symptoms but not the causes, often resulting in
poor living conditions and high recidivism rates.
Common Ground Community (CGC) takes a different approach. Creating
what is called “supportive housing,” CGC aims to
“transform people, buildings, and communities.”
Supportive housing is permanent housing with social services
for the formerly homeless or those at risk for homelessness.
Services range from mental health and substance abuse counseling
to job placement to life skills training. Tenants hold leases
to their own apartments at affordable rents. The buildings are
part of the surrounding community and uphold high standards
of property management. In New York, the Times Square Hotel
was purchased and renovated by CGC in 1990. It is now the nation’s
largest supportive housing facility, as well as earning a spot
on the National Register of Historic Places.