Grocon is developing a supportive housing project for Melbourne’s homeless at cost, in a partnership with the State Government and Yarra Community Housing.

CEO Daniel Grollo said Grocon would provide a project manager and other experienced staff to deliver the project, which is due to start later this year.

“It’s a great model for us to be involved with, as we hope we can bring design, development and construction skills to the table to assist in ensuring the right outcome for homeless people,” he said.

“From what we know of supportive housing models overseas, it can provide a way for the long term homeless to break out of that cycle, which starts with having a place they can call their own.”

Supportive housing was pioneered in New York in the early 1990s, the first building a refurbished hotel near Times Square. Since then the number of homeless living rough on the streets has dropped dramatically.

The project involves building around 120 units over 10 levels, providing support and accommodation for chronically homeless people.

Services provided will include drug and alcohol counselling, mental health referrals and living skills programs. There will be 24 hour controlled access for residents.

Mr Grollo said many of the consultants with whom Grocon deals on a regular basis had already agreed to work pro bono or at cost on the project.

In line with its existing employment program, where long term unemployed are hired on its sites through the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Whitelion, Grocon will offer prospective tenants the opportunity to work on the project.

-lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au