Common Ground Community Common Ground Community
Replication Project

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.

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