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Adelaide Zero Project

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The Don Dunstan Foundation has a proud history of engaging with homelessness issues. We think that, in 2018, Adelaide shouldn’t be seeking just to address street homelessness but to end it, as other cities like Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans are seeking to do.

On any given night there are 143 people or more sleeping rough in the city (as identified through Connections Week) which is something the Don Dunstan Foundation is keen to address.

There are now 35 partners in the Adelaide Zero Project, whose goal it is to end street homelessness in the inner city and ultimately end homelessness in South Australia.

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Connections Week

May 14 – 18 2018

Connections Week is a collaborative effort by Hutt St Centre, Don Dunstan Foundation and other Adelaide Zero Project Partners. It marks the start of Phase 2 (Implementation) for the Adelaide Zero Project.

During Connections Week, nearly 200 dedicated workers and volunteers from across the sector tried to connect with every person sleeping rough in the city to get to know them by name and better understand their needs.

Connections Week volunteers at the first Outreach session briefing.


Connections Week volunteers engaged with 143 people sleeping rough in Adelaide's inner city in May 2018.

People sleeping rough were asked a range of questions (age, gender, physical & mental health, length of sleeping rough etc. etc.) which will help service providers put in place the supports that each individual rough sleeper needs to help them successfully transition them to long-term housing.

Download the results

Connections Week and Adelaide Zero Project Media

Adelaide and National print, online and radio media have been very supportive of the Adelaide Zero Project's aim to end homelessness in the inner city. See below for some articles published about the Project:

What Adelaide Zero Project learned from talking to 143 people sleeping rough
The Mandarin, Harley Dennett, 28 May 2018

Rough sleepers identified in Adelaide Zero Project aim to tackle street homelessness 
The Advertiser, Josephine Lim, 17 May 2018

Could this Australian City End Homelessness?
SBS World News, Rhiannon Elston, 17 May 2018

Zero Project aims to get all rough sleepers off Adelaide’s streets in two years
The Advertiser, Matt Smith, 14 May 2018

Adelaide’s homeless deserve our tolerance and support – are you listening Hutt St traders?
The Advertiser, Lainie Anderson, 1 April 2018

Adelaide Commits to ‘Functional Zero Homelessness’ by 2020
ProBono Australia, Luke Mitchell, 26 Feb 2018

How Adelaide plans to reach ‘zero homelessness’ within two years
The Mandarin, Harley Dennett, 22 Feb 2018

Implementation Plan 2018 - 2020

The Adelaide Zero Project Implementation Plan sets out the next steps in the development of the project, the timeline for key activities and, crucially, which organisations will take responsibility for delivering the various elements of the project.The development of the Adelaide Zero Project is informed by a research team made up of academics from The University of Adelaide and Flinders University

Download the Implementation Plan

Download the Plan Summary

Media Release

The Functional Zero Approach

Functional Zero is an innovative approach for ending homelessness, pioneered by Community Solutions, and has been successfully adopted in the United States and internationally.

It involves a coordinated, broad‐based process for matching the need for housing with supply. A community reaches Functional Zero when the number of people sleeping on the streets at any point in time is no greater than the average housing capacity, and this is proven with data.

At its core, the Functional Zero approach is about knowing by name every person sleeping rough and coordinating local resources to quickly meet their need. Adelaide has the opportunity to be the first city outside of North America to achieve and sustain Functional Zero street homelessness.

The Adelaide Zero Project has set an interim target to achieve and sustain Functional Zero street homelessness in Adelaide’s inner city by the end of 2020. This will be reviewed following Connections Week where Adelaide Zero Project partners will collect new data by connecting with people sleeping rough in the inner city over a week-long exercise.

The Adelaide Zero Project is modelled on the highly successful Built for Zero campaign in the United States. Further information can be found on the Community Solutions websiteLink to external website

The Zero Project is supported by the Institute of Global Homelessness. More information can be found about them here Link to external website

Dame Louise Casey

Dame Louise Casey has an extensive history supporting governments in the United Kingdom, working on homelessness, but also victims’ rights, and anti-social behaviour. She has been a driving force in establishing the Institute of Global Homelessness, which is supporting the Adelaide Zero Project.

Over the last 17 years Dame Louise has been instrumental in the development of a number of bespoke social policy programmes for Government.

Drawing on her experiences leading homeless charity Shelter, Dame Louise has consistently delivered brave and innovative solutions to long standing social problems ranging from homelessness to anti-social behaviour to troubled families.

As part of the Adelaide Zero Project, organisations, groups and individuals will be invited to contribute and commit to a Charter to help achieve Functional Zero street homelessness in Adelaide.

To receive updates on the Charter and other Adelaide Zero Project news, sign up to our mailing list.

Taking Action to End Homelessness

The Don Dunstan Foundation is a thought leadership organisation that works on collaborative projects to inspire action for a fairer world, building on the legacy of the late Premier Don Dunstan.

One of our current areas of focus is homelessness.

Each year the Don Dunstan Foundation hosts a Homelessness Conference. Speaking at the 2016 Conference, former Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Roseanne Haggerty, outlined how she viewed homelessness as a solvable problem that Adelaide is uniquely placed to solve. Roseanne issued a challenge to put in place a plan to end street homelessness and organisations from across the public, private, community and university sectors have collectively taken up that challenge.

The Adelaide Zero Project is our response, with the Don Dunstan Foundation taking a coordination role for at least the first phase of the project.

A broad coalition of organisations has come together to lead the charge for Adelaide to become the first city outside North America to implement an approach that has seen seven communities achieve Functional Zero homelessness for veterans, and three communities for chronically homeless people.

If you are interested in being part of this project, please contact David Pearson, Executive Director.

Our Project Partners

We would like to acknowledge the Adelaide Zero Project partners who are helping making this project a reality.

Don Dunstan Foundation

Level 8, 115 Grenfell St
SA 5005 Australia


Phone: +61 8 8313 3364
ABN: 14 614 345 149

Registered Charity

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