Adelaide Zero Project milestone – over 500 South Australians housed

Through the collective efforts of partners in the Adelaide Zero Project, including government agencies, over five hundred South Australians who were sleeping rough in Adelaide’s inner city have been housed.

This record comes as the Project aims to reduce homelessness in Adelaide’s CBD by up to 30 per cent by April 2021.

Adelaide Zero Project Co-Chair, Louise Miller Frost, said that this was a significant moment for the Project but also an opportunity to refocus our goals moving forward. “This is an important milestone. Over two years, the Adelaide Zero Project has helped support and house 500 South Australians doing it tough,” Ms Miller Frost said.

“Building on this achievement, we’re refocussing our efforts to ensure we don’t take our foot off the accelerator. By April 2021, we hope to have less than 140 South Australians on our By-Name List experiencing homelessness in Adelaide’s inner-city. Given the challenges our community is facing, this goal is ambitious but it can be done.

“This includes increased capacity for specialised support, so we can better assist those experiencing long term or multiple episodes of homelessness along with Aboriginal people, young South Australians and veterans.”

The Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Marshall Liberal Government, in partnership with service providers, had worked hard to house 250 South Australians experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To successfully help so many people so quickly off the street and into a longer-term home is a remarkable achievement,” said Minister Lensink.

“The fact that we have been able to house so many South Australians through organisations working closely together indicates we are on the right path to making an impact on reducing street homelessness.

“The Marshall Liberal Government remains committed to ensuring we continue to prevent people falling into homelessness and supporting more people into safe, stable and long-term housing is a key focus.”

Adelaide Zero Project has worked with Jake Maguire of US-based organisation, Community Solutions, who have helped 16 communities to achieve functional zero homelessness.

“Adelaide should be commended for its nation-leading efforts to end homelessness, starting with this milestone of housing over 500 people. Other communities in Australia who are using similar count-up or count-down methods are yet to achieve this milestone in such a short period of time and are keenly watching their peers in Adelaide with admiration,” Jake Maguire, Principal, Community Solutions.

Since 2018, the Adelaide Zero Project has developed comprehensive and quality data on rough sleeping through Adelaide’s first Connections Week and the By-Name List, a live list of the names and needs of those experiencing homelessness in the inner city.

As of 30 November 2020, AZP has housed 508 people across the project’s lifetime. However, there are currently 201 people actively homeless, including 110 people sleeping rough.  These are numbers on which the Adelaide Zero Project partners will continue to work together in 2021.

A new phase for the Adelaide Zero Project

The Don Dunstan Foundation will transition the Adelaide Zero Project backbone function towards a new community-led structure by the end of 2020, in preparation for the State Government’s homelessness reforms.

After initiating the nation-leading Adelaide Zero Project (AZP) and playing a vital role in highlighting the issue of homelessness in our community, the Foundation’s ongoing work in the program has helped to embed significant innovation in the homelessness sector. Through DDF’s leadership role as a non-service delivery, backbone organisation, it has helped to embed collaboration, skills and capacity within Adelaide Zero Project partner organisations which are now well-equipped to continue to deliver the core mechanisms of the Adelaide Zero Project.

After the Foundation’s work promoting and demonstrating collective impact in bringing together project partners, and now with the South Australian Government adopting new reforms to address homelessness in the State, it is timely for AZP partners and the homelessness sector to adopt and embed learnings from the Project.

“We are pleased to see the SA Government embrace elements of the recommendations from DDF’s Thinker in Residence, Dr Nonie Brennan, including a Housing First approach across the state-wide homelessness reforms,” said Chair of the Don Dunstan Foundation, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith.

“We recognise there are opportunities for AZP to evolve as a result of the sector’s upcoming reforms and we feel it is a timely, natural progression for DDF to transition out of the backbone role, to enable partner organisations and the broader sector to embed experience from the AZP in a sustainable way as part of a new Alliance model. We are confident these core mechanisms will still enable homelessness in Adelaide to continue to move towards reaching ‘Functional Zero’,” she said. 

“The Foundation acknowledges the sector for helping to make homelessness an agreed community and social priority. The way that service providers, Government and non-profits have put aside their own interests to focus on the greater good, highlights the determination and good will of the sector, despite any challenges that might continue to exist in the broader system,” Dr Lomax-Smith says.

During the next two months, the Don Dunstan Foundation will work with Adelaide Zero Project partners to ensure the project’s core mechanisms such as the By-Name List, Data Dashboard, Inner City Community of Practice and Project Steering Group will continue during the reforms.

The Foundation will also produce a blueprint report on the collective impact, alliance-based Adelaide Zero Project to continue to inform the new SA Government homelessness reforms.

Although 495 people have been housed across the project’s lifetime, there are currently 198 people actively homeless in Adelaide’s inner city, including 107 people sleeping rough.

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.

AnglicareSA

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

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.