Press |

Genius of Common Ground

  |  September 19, 2011

TO GET inside the mind of a genius, you have to pin her down. The jam-packed visit to Brisbane of Rosanne Haggerty (pictured) – talking to a sell-out black-tie dinner, drinks, meetings and collaborations – means grabbing a moment isn’t easy.

She is checking emails at the office of West End community organisation Micah Projects when we meet but jumps up – “Do you want tea/coffee/water?” – and she’s in the kitchen.

Haggerty is royalty in the homeless sector. One US newspaper called her the Mother Teresa of affordable housing, which all sounds over the top until you stop and think about what she’s achieved.

She tackled homelessness in New York when the city was broke. Some areas were crime-ridden no-go zones and most people thought it utterly hopeless. She put together an elegant solution which, on the street, worked.

Better still, it has been successfully replicated through the US and here in Australia. Queensland is building its first Common Ground right now, at Hope St, South Brisbane, with 146 studio and one-bedroom units for the city’s most vulnerable.