Adelaide Zero Project meets monthly housing milestone

Despite the enormous challenges of COVID-19, Adelaide’s homelessness rate is going down with more people housed than coming into rough sleeping each month since June. In July, the Adelaide Zero Project housed 72 people – its highest ever housing rate in a month; previously, the housing rate sat at a median of 12 people before the pandemic.

The Adelaide Zero Project’s monthly housing rate has steadily increased since May – largely due to the collaborative COVID-19 emergency accommodation response for people sleeping rough, which has been led by SA Housing Authority, Neami National, Hutt St Centre, Baptist Care SA and other project partners, in conjunction with the project’s backbone organisation, the Don Dunstan Foundation.

Adelaide Zero Project Co-Chair Louise Miller Frost said the new data was a ‘big step’ towards the project’s target.

“We are seeing an average of 33 people per month entering rough sleeping, so if we can keep up the momentum of housing over 70 people per month we will make real strides towards our target,” Ms Miller Frost said.

“This includes people who are sleeping rough in the city, or who have since moved into temporary shelter – we can then know these people’s names and needs and eventually connect them to support and accommodation.

“The Adelaide Zero Project has shown during COVID-19 that it is possible to coordinate housing and support for people sleeping rough faster than ever before, especially when we all work together.

Louise Miller Frost, Co Chair, Adelaide Zero Project

“Using our collaborative approach, with not for profit services and housing providers working together with SA Housing Authority to secure long-term housing and support for those who had been sleeping rough.

“While we celebrate this milestone now, we are concerned there may be an increase in homelessness in the coming months, as the impacts of COVID-19 and the recession continue to be felt across the community.

“Adelaide Zero Project’s By-Name List and our collaborative approach put us in an ideal position to monitor any increases in rough sleeping in the city and respond both quickly and collectively,” said Ms Miller Frost.

“To successfully help so many people off the street and into a longer-term home is an outstanding achievement,” said the Hon. Michelle Lensink MLC, Minister for Human Services.

“This really shows what can be achieved when the sector works together to achieve a common goal and a lot of hard work has made this outcome possible.

“To continue to achieve these positives outcomes for South Australians, we need to make sure that all parts of the homelessness system are continuing to work together, and this is central to the reforms we are undertaking at the moment,“ said Minister Lensink.

Although 468 people have been housed across the project’s lifetime, there are currently 218 people actively homeless in Adelaide’s inner city, including 117 people sleeping rough.

Congratulations Baroness Louise Casey!

Baroness Louise Casey

Written by Edward McLeish

Queen Elizabeth II has elevated 2017 Don Dunstan Orator Dame Louise Casey to the title of Baroness.

Baroness Louise Casey has been a driving force in ending homelessness and has developed a number of bespoke social policy programmes governments have used globally.

Aside from being an annual Don Dunstan Orator in 2017, Bss Casey challenged the city of Adelaide to solve its homelessness problem – a challenge giving birth to the Don Dunstan Foundation’s Adelaide Zero Project.

Some of Bss Casey’s UK achievements include becoming director of Shelter (1992), head of the Rough Sleepers’ Unit (1999), a director of the Anti-Social Behavioural Unit (2003), head of the Respect Task Force (2005), was the UK’s first Victims Commissioner in 2010 and the director-general of Troubled Families in 2011. In February this year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Bss Casey as an adviser to help tackle homelessness.

Bss Casey has consistently delivered brave and innovative solutions to long standing social problems ranging from homelessness to anti-social behaviour to troubled families.

And throughout her illustrious career, Bss Casey has maintained her commitment to the charity sector and has been a driving force in the establishment of the Institute for Global Homelessness (which works with the Adelaide Zero Project), with the aim of delivering an international solution to homelessness across the world.

Previously, Bss Casey was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen’s birthday honours list, 2008 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours list, 2016.

The Don Dunstan Foundation congratulates Baroness Louise Carey for her promotion, her leadership and her stellar achievements in reducing homelessness.

SA’s food charities unite to discuss COVID-19 impacts

Written by Edward McLeish

South Australian food security’s biggest problem is not abundance but supply chain incompetence.

A constrained food supply chain – a challenge starkly exposed during the wave of pandemic panic buying that swept South Australia – and poor perceptions surrounding food security were the hottest menu items during last Friday’s Don Dunstan Foundation webinar: How To Foster Food Security in Uncertain Times.

Meals on Wheels Australia President Sharyn Broer, Food South Australia Chief Executive Catherine Sayer and Foodbank SA Chief Executive Greg Pattinson joined forces to talk about how their organisations were handling the COVID-19 climate. 

Mrs Broer said there had been a dramatic upsurge across Australia in demand for Meals on Wheels’ services. Not just from their traditional customers but also those who had previously been financially stable. 

‘There were around two and a half times more people saying ‘I think I need Meals on Wheels’ in March,’ Mrs Broer said. 

‘The tipping point was from the elderly who were independent; restaurants and cafes for those social meal activity settings were closed, so older people were challenged by the supermarket shelves.’

Mrs Broer said those who had income to fill out pantries couldn’t as food rationing was not implemented – and initially, online food shopping options were just as scarce. 

‘We were able to get an extra 400 meals a day going out to support people, but with 76,000 Meals on Wheels people nationally, and half of them over 70, there was a huge increase in demand and a sudden depletion in the workforce,’ she said. 

Food SA’s Catherine Sayer denied the state has, or had, a food security problem. 

‘We’ve got 26 million in Australia and there’s enough food for 75 million; it’s not a food security problem – the issue is the supply chain,’ Ms Sayer said. 

‘In SA, if the borders all closed, we could still feed ourselves many times over.’

Ms Sayer explained panic buying broke the supply chain. 

‘If everyone was just behaving normally, the supply chain wouldn’t break; we can manage this situation,’ she said. 

‘This is where I commend Greg Pattinson and Foodbank SA, where they organised a big food drive.’

Foodbank SA’s food drive in May – which focussed on the economically-impacted victims of the coronavirus – allowed panic buyers to drop off the items they overbought at Foodbank’s Edwardstown headquarters for those in need.

Mr Pattinson agreed the major strains on Australia’s food supply related to transport and distribution, but said South Aussies were better placed than others hit by the coronavirus. 

‘The other states relied on the charity sector to pass on food to clients,’ he said. 

‘During COVID, all those charities interstate closed; In WA, they couldn’t get food out to people.’

Foodbank SA has a growing number of food hubs to help the food-insecure shop for themselves, which Mr Pattinson said, like Meals on Wheels, is a more ‘dignified, customer-based’ method.

‘People can come and shop for themselves rather than getting a hamper, and having that choice helps people’s mental health,’ he said. 

According to Mr Pattinson, there is a stigma around people seeing if they qualify for food insecurity services.

‘We’ve heard stories of people walking around the front of our hubs for two days before plucking up the courage to ask for help; it is a mentally challenging environment,’ he said. 

‘There’s still lots of areas in SA with no charities to support and there are high unemployment rates in these country towns. We need to address the food needs of people in those small communities. 

‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help.’

Did you miss out on the How to Foster Food Security in Uncertain Times webinar? You can watch the replay.

The Don Dunstan Foundation will present another web seminar: How to sing, dance, paint and play our way out of COVID-19 on Wednesday July 15. Tickets here.

How to help our partners

Written by Anthony Collebrusco

During this challenging climate, our thoughts are with the partners of the Don Dunstan Foundation’s major projects.

These service providers continue to deliver invaluable services to vulnerable populations in our community, and many have adapted their practices to protect their clients, employees and volunteers.

With many of us in the not-for-profit sector impacted in different ways by COVID-19, some of you may have the capacity to support our very important service providers.

We have made a comprehensive list of partners and their current needs with links to more information about how you can help.

Additionally, some partners are no longer accepting certain types of donated goods. These changes are also noted below.

Whether you are able to offer support, or unable to in these difficult times, the Foundation thanks you for your ongoing commitment to social justice in our state.


Donations to Anglicare’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal can be made here. To limit the spread of COVID-19, AnglicareSA is currently not accepting donated goods from the public, including food, clothing and blankets.

Baptist Care SA

Baptist Care SA provides weekly emergency relief food parcels to people experiencing homelessness. The organisation has created a list of non-perishable food items, including:

  • Canned meat, soup, tinned fruits and vegetables.
  • Cereal and long life milk.
  • Rice.
  • Pasta sauce.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and deodorant.
  • And much more.

Items can be dropped off during office hours Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm at 11-19 Millers Court (off Wright Street).

Baptist Care SA is also seeking mobile phones (Android not Apple) to help connect those experiencing isolation with their loved ones.

Catherine House Inc.

The current virus threat means clients need more support than ever, and donations can be made here. Volunteer programs have been paused and in-kind goods donations are currently not accepted.

Community Housing LTD

CHL has compiled resources related to COVID-19, state-specific information, and FAQs related to housing and tenancy matters.

Housing Choices South Australia

Housing Choices South Australia has been curating helpful resources on their Facebook page, including a telephone check-in service from the Red Cross and a factsheet for older Australians from COTA SA.

They also shared Action for Happiness’ Meaningful May calendar, featuring daily prompts of positive actions you can take. Print it out and put it on your desk.

Hutt St Centre

Hutt St Centre is accepting food donations, including:

  • Reusable, BPA-free water bottles
  • Muesli bars
  • Long life milk
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Supermarket gift cards

Clothing and household items are not currently being accepted.

Download Hutt St Centre’s COVID-19 wishlist. (PDF)

Junction Australia

Junction Australia’s Facebook page is curating ways to help local not-for-profit organisations.

OARS Community Transitions

OARS Community Transitions’ volunteer recruitment page is still active.

Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross continues to support bushfire relief and helping those in need across Australia. It is still seeking volunteers. Find opportunities close to you on their volunteer page.

Blood and plasma donations remain vital in the fight against COVID-19. Travel and venue restrictions do not prevent people from giving blood, although the Red Cross encourages donors aged 70 and over to stay at home and self-isolate. Learn more about how to give blood and plasma.

The Red Cross created a page dedicated to tips about maintaining your well-being and how to take care of yourself and others in isolation.

The Salvation Army

As COVID–19 continues to impact our communities, The Salvation Army is working hard to continue providing support to those who need it most. Cash donations can be made here. The Salvation Army is not accepting donations of goods currently, so please do not drop unwanted goods outside the shops.

Uniting Communities

As of 1 May, anyone entering an aged care facility for work or to visit loved ones will be required to provide proof of a current flu vaccination. Uniting Communities encourages everyone to get your flu shot as soon as possible.


Vinnies has announced that shops at Hawthorn and Kidman Park have reopened as of 18 May 2020. Vinnies Hawthorn shop at 21 Abbotshall Road accepts quality donations of clothes, bric-a-brac, books and household items. Clean blankets are also being accepted to help those in need of warmth. Social distancing measures are in place and volunteers have proper protection.

Women’s Safety Services SA

The organisation encourages donations to Second Chances SA or the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Secondhand goods are not accepted.

Shelter SA

Shelter SA is involved in weekly Giving Tuesday campaigns. In a recent campaign, they asked for food or cash donations to be made to a list of homelessness service providers. Weekly updates can be found on their enews and Facebook page.

Homelessness to surge in South Australia because of COVID-19

Celeste Villani, City Editor, The City|May 10, 2020

Shelters are bracing for a surge in homelessness in SA in both employed and unemployed people because of the COVID-19 crisis – there’s already been a huge spike in the CBD.

Read the article here …

Adelaide’s homelessness project receives worldwide certification

Adelaide is now the first city outside of North America to have certification for its homelessness data, as part of the Adelaide Zero Project.

To secure certification, the Adelaide Zero Project met 29 requirements set out by Community Solutions, including mapping geographic coverage of outreach areas, correct policies and procedures to collect and manage data, and listing of newly identified people sleeping rough.

Endorsed by homelessness experts Community Solutions, the certification means the Adelaide Zero Project has quality data in its By-Name List. A quality list provides three things:

  • A real time snapshot of all persons experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough in the inner city of Adelaide.
  • A means of assessing what type of housing or support intervention each person in a community needs to exit homelessness permanently.
  • Allows the project to know the names of anyone sleeping rough in the city and provide support according to their individual needs, instead of simply being a number in the system.

The By-Name list is officially accredited by Community Solutions, a US based organisation helping communities around the world end homelessness and uses data to tackle social problems.

Jake Maguire, Principal at Community Solutions says data is the key to solving homelessness.

“You cannot solve homelessness if you can’t see it and understand how it’s evolving— that’s why Adelaide’s achievement is such a big deal. Eleven communities in the US have now gotten all the way to zero, like Adelaide aims to do. Not one of them did it without achieving this critical data quality milestone,” Mr Maguire says.

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s Executive Director Ritchie Hollands says it is an exciting achievement for Adelaide to be the first city in Australia to have this certification.

“No other community outside of North America has met this foundational standard for understanding, in real-time, who and how many people are sleeping on the streets. The Adelaide Zero Project is extremely proud to take the mantle for our quality homelessness data and continue to lead the country in the work we are doing to house those most vulnerable in our society,” Mr Hollands says.

Neami National Chief Executive Officer Tom Dalton says being the lead agency on behalf of the Adelaide Zero Project for the By-Name List has been an important role for the organisation, to ensure the right support is provided.

“The certification of the By-Name List provides a level of reassurance that we are working with accurate and timely data. Having confidence in the data allows our teams to take action to ensure the right support is available for people sleeping rough as their circumstances change,” says Mr Dalton.

The Adelaide Zero Project has been working with over 40 partners to reach the goal of ‘functional zero’ street homelessness by the end of 2020.

For certification, the AZP has established shared procedures and tools to complete a By-Name List Scorecard. These ensure better coverage of people sleeping rough in the inner city, and data is entered and monitored in real-time across multiple service providers.

Get ready for this year’s Homelessness Conference – Preventing Homelessness

The Don Dunstan Foundation presents the sixth annual Homelessness Conference this August. This year’s theme – Preventing Homelessness, examines ways in which those working in the public, community, and private sectors can collaborate more effectively to prevent homelessness in South Australia.

But before this year’s conference we’d like to take a look back at the highlights of the 2018 Homelessness Conference. Last year, with the theme of Sharing Solutions to End Homelessness, the 2018 conference bought together presenters and panel members, nationally and internationally alike; including Professor Marah Curtis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Sally Hines from The Big Issue. Together presenters provided valuable and insightful information that fostered the notion that a problem shared, is a problem solved.

Our top 3 highlights from last year’s conference include;

  • Michelle Lensink’s Opening Address, introducing the continuum that is homelessness.
  • Dr Marah Curtis discussion around the Housing and Homelessness in the US, including the household income, housing instability, and health impacts of housing.
  • Sally Hines discussion for raising funding towards the Home for Homes initiative that generates social and affordable housing.


Take a look at the 2018 Homelessness Conference highlights and footage of presenters for yourself here.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Homelessness Conference!

Migration Entities Join Forces to Combat Issues Facing Migrants and Refugees

MARRNet Enters Strategic Partnership with AMES Australia

The Migration and Refugee Research Network (MARRNet) is pleased to announce the launch of a new strategic partnership, with AMES Australia confirmed as a key sponsor of the network.

MARRNet is comprised of researchers, service providers, students and community members, established to improve migration in South Australia. The Network is sponsored by The Don Dunstan Foundation, The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, The University of South Australia and now, AMES Australia.

Global migration is a dynamic and growing phenomenon with significant economic, social, cultural and humanitarian implications at the national and international level. MARRNet’s focus is to foster research collaboration and innovation, to promote multiculturalism and improve settlement outcomes for asylum seekers, refugees and international students. It also aims to be a collective place, where discussions and actions on social justice and existing human rights law protection can occur.

Similarly, Victorian based AMES Australia, has helped new and recently arrived refugees and migrants for over 60 years, helping them settle into the community to ensure “full participation for all in a cohesive and diverse society.” AMES Australia works with new arrivals, businesses and the Government to develop effective settlement solutions.

This partnership will allow support events such as the Hugo Oration, various MARRNet engagement activities and many other activities that connect diverse audiences and raise awareness of refugee and migration issues. If you want to be a part of this incredible network, contact the Don Dunstan Foundation.


Significant rise in rough sleepers tracked by record number of volunteers Copy

Support for Adelaide’s Homeless ‘needs to go further’ Australian-first tracking data reveals

In a push to end street homelessness by the end of 2020, Adelaide, the first city in Australia to actively track the number of rough sleepers in its inner city and report the figures publicly, has recorded an increase over the past 12 months.

A record 280 volunteers as part of the Adelaide Zero Project’s annual ‘ Connections Week,’ have engaged with people sleeping rough face-to-face to determine their individual needs, know them by name and prioritise secure housing.

Adelaide’s latest Connections Week shows 227 people are actively sleeping rough in the inner city compared to 143 at the same time last year.

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson says while it was expected that numbers would rise and fall as the names and needs of people sleeping rough in Adelaide’s CBD was recorded each month – more work needs to be done.

“We should be incredibly proud that the Adelaide Zero Project over the past 12 months has made a record 161 housing placements to support people living on our streets into secure housing.

“We now need to better understand why our data is indicating an upwards trend in people sleeping rough and if this increase is because more people are falling into street homelessness, or whether we are simply identifying more people through an improved measurement system.

“Ultimately, to be successful in ending rough sleeping, all levels of government must work together. The recently announced City Deal, a 10-year federal, state and local government agreement to grow Adelaide as an innovative and vibrant city, should be expanded to include tackling homelessness.

“Whilst we have done an extraordinary job of placing more people into housing, we also need to improve our efforts at prevention – this will be the focus of this year’s Don Dunstan Foundation Homelessness Conference on August 7.

“Over 70% of people surveyed during Connections Week were facing physical health, mental health and substance abuse issues. This shows rough sleeping is a health issue as much as a housing issue.

“What we need now are partners in Canberra to help us with this challenge.

“We’ve called for $1.1 million in state government funding to help us implement the recent Institute of Global Homelessness’ report on Adelaide, to fast track and achieve ‘functional zero street homelessness.’

“The Report’s 28 recommendations include reducing the barriers to accessing shelter accommodation such as taking people on their own terms including those who are couples, intoxicated and have pets.

“The data shows, without removing these emergency accommodation restrictions, many people sleeping rough will continue to remain on the streets,” Mr Pearson says.

Adelaide City Council has pledged an additional $200,000 towards Adelaide Zero Project if the state government matches it.

To sustain functional zero street homelessness in the city, Adelaide Zero Project is also pushing for $30 million in capital funding from the federal government to build additional ‘social houses’ – similar to the $30 million in funding as part of the Hobart City Deal for housing.

Mr Pearson says achieving zero street homelessness is a whole-community approach and the private sector is also encouraged to commit and contribute to Adelaide Zero Project in whatever way they can.

“The private rental system needs to play a greater role in creating capacity in the emergency and social housing sectors for people sleeping rough to be able to be supported in,” he says.

Bendigo Bank’s State Manager SA/NT Paul Mertin is urging other businesses in South Australia to get on board the Adelaide Zero Project.

“Help us in our mission to strengthen the whole community with better resourcing and services for those who have, for various reasons, encountered unexpected challenges in their lives,” he says.

Adelaide is a Vanguard city, one of only 13 cities worldwide, who are committed to ending street homelessness by working with the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH).


Community Briefing

The results from Connections Week were announced at the Community Briefing, with presentations from Hutt St Centre CEO, Ian Cox and Executive Direction of the Don Dunstan Foundation, David Pearson. Over 120 community members, volunteers and industry specialists attended the event, focused on this years results and how to move towards Functional Zero street homelessness.

To view Ian Cox’s presentation, please click here.

To view David Pearson’s presentation, please click here.

For more statistics on this year’s Connections Week, please download the info-graphic click here.


About Adelaide Zero Project

More than 40 organisations are driving the Adelaide Zero Project and have committed to ‘functional zero street homelessness’ by the end of 2020. These include inner city homelessness services, Principal Partner Bendigo Bank, state government, City of Adelaide, University of Adelaide and Flinders University. Don Dunstan Foundation is acting as the backbone organisation.

‘Functional zero homelessness’ is reached when the number of people who are homeless in a city on any given night is no greater than the average monthly housing placement rate – and is reduced over time.

Adelaide Zero Project commenced in late 2017 and is based on a highly successful approach being rolled out across the United States.

In the United States, seven communities have achieved Functional Zero homelessness for veterans, and four communities for chronically homeless people.

Adelaide aiming to be first Australian city to end street homelessness by 2020 with record number of volunteers set to hit the streets

Every homeless person has a name and a record 280 volunteers next week will spend a few nights walking the streets of Adelaide’s CBD, getting to know the people sleeping rough face-to-face.

Dubbed ‘Connections Week’ from Monday 20 May until Thursday 23 May, the overall goal is to support more rough sleepers into secure housing to achieve Functional Zero[1] street homelessness in the city by the end of 2020.

The initiative is part of the Adelaide Zero Project, which involves over 40 partnering organisations including inner city homelessness services, Principal Partner Bendigo Bank, state government, City of Adelaide, University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

“Since Adelaide’s first Connections Week during May last year, 133 people have been supported into secure housing – this is a remarkable achievement,” Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson says.

“These are people who were identified as sleeping rough and were put on Adelaide’s first-ever By-Name List, to assist inner city homelessness services to know their names and coordinate housing and support – based on their individual needs,” Mr Pearson says.

“In an Australian-first, a public online Dashboard is also actively tracking the number of people sleeping rough in Adelaide’s CBD and shows how many have moved into secure housing –

“While the city has the most comprehensive data on street homelessness in the country, we still have a huge task ahead of us, as we know new people are regularly ending up on the streets.

“Tonight, 167 people will be sleeping rough on the streets and parklands of our city. Connections Week will establish whether this figure has gone up or down.”

This year, new data will be collected from people sleeping rough to include:

  • Length of time living on the streets
  • How many people have experienced repeat homelessness
  • Identifying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosocial disorders
  • Diagnosis of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart, liver and kidney disease

Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor says people sleeping rough are some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“Connections Week is an opportunity to understand the needs of individual rough sleepers to ensure that service responses can best address their needs, including those for appropriate housing,” Ms Verschoor says.

Bendigo Bank’s State Manager SA/NT Paul Mertin says Bendigo Bank is very pleased to be able to continue its support for Adelaide Zero Project as Principal Partner.

“Bendigo Bank staff will again be volunteering during Connections Week to help enter and analyse the information collected from the people sleeping rough, so that an accurate assessment of the homelessness situation in Adelaide can be presented at a public Community Briefing on Thursday 23 May.”

The Don Dunstan Foundation initiated the Adelaide Zero Project with a diverse range of organisations in late 2017 to achieve a common goal – ending street homelessness in the City of Adelaide.

“There are no simple solutions to homelessness – it’s incredibly complex,” Mr Pearson says.

“We do know that the biggest cause of homelessness is ignoring it, that’s why the Adelaide Zero Project is so important as it requires our community’s collective effort to tackle this problem.”

For more information or interviews contact: The Message Bureau (08) 8223 7703 or 0419 754 564

[1] Functional Zero street homelessness is achieved when the number of people who are sleeping rough at any time is no greater than the average housing capacity.