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.

SALA winner keen to continue artistic impact

Written by Lili Rose.

This year’s winner of the SALA Don Dunstan Foundation Award is inspiring textile artist, Makeda Duong, who says winning the award came as a shock.

‘I was a little bit surprised. I felt like the other two finalists were strong contenders as well,’ Duong said.

The winning piece, Duong’s Mixed Race Sweater, is a layered, intimate piece displaying and examining the questions made to her about her identity and her musings on the complexities of being a mixed race, Vietnamese-Australian woman.

‘It’s partly about how I’m perceived as a mixed race, half Asian person, but there’s also a lot of stuff going on behind it to do with my father’s past coming from Vietnam, a country that suffered a lot of invasion, war and trauma,’ said Duong.

The sweater, which is split evenly displaying the colours of the Australian flag on the front and the South Vietnamese flag on the back, is a manifestation of her own heritage and the curiosity it inspires in other people. 

As part of her exhibition Mixed Race Female, the sweater asks its audience to reflect upon themselves and the powerful social positions in which questions like ‘Where are you from’ and ‘Am I Australian’ come from.

Each of these questions, which make assumptions about identity based on name or appearance, have been asked to Makeda, an experience known to many other people of colour in Australia.

‘Firstly, there’s something about being a person of colour, it’s very visible, it’s a fact that’s right there, the colour of your skin, colour of your eyes, colour of your hair…it sets you apart,’ Duong said.

Additionally, the sweater’s colours comment on the duality in views on communism, comparing the difference between her father’s experience in Vietnam, which led to his migration to Australia, to the ideals of Western youth.

‘I was thinking that a lot of young Western people have this really positive view of communist ideals now, they see it as a positive alternative to capitalism. Whereas, people like my dad, who came from Vietnam, have had oppressive communist rule and see it as a negative thing. This intrigued me and I might be thinking about that in future works,’ said Duong.

Winning the DDF SALA Festival Award hasn’t been the only response Makeda has had for her work. The exhibition has been featured in a number of local publications, further demonstrating the profound impact it’s had on the public.

‘I think it’s made me realise these kinds of works on these topics has really resonated with a lot of people, probably more than I thought it would,’

‘A lot of things that aggravate me tend to make me want to make artwork as a reaction to it.’ Duong said.

The initial inspirations for the sweater began with Duong’s first piece from 2015, the Cursed Boyfriend Sweater, a manifestation of the unhealthy things couples say to each other knitted into a wearable sweater.

Duong plans to save the $1000 prize money to continue creating artwork on topics of mental health, migration, race, and gender.

‘I think it’s emboldened me to make work if I feel I have something to say about it, not feel like I can’t or that it’s a topic that I’m going to be attacked or perceived negatively for,’ said Duong.

With a specialisation in textiles, Duong says she won’t be moving away from the medium any time soon. Instead, she’s considered creating more sculptural works like those currently featured in her exhibition.

Although having a break after this exhibition, Duong will continue to contemplate conceptual avenues, further focusing on ideas of communism and the funding cuts within the arts sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mixed Race Female is showing at Nexus Arts Gallery until September 17th.

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.

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.

Writers Week review – Angela Woollacott’s biography on Don Dunstan

The Visionary Don Dunstan – Angela Woollacott Adelaide Writers’ Week event

Written by Chris Button

Don Dunstan’s lasting legacy as a strong leader, social reformer, and an eloquently intelligent politician commanded attention at a packed Adelaide Writers’ Week discussing his recent biography written by historian Angela Woollacott, Don Dunstan: The visionary politician who changed Australia.

Featuring discussion between Woollacott and local barrister Anthony Durkin, the 5 March event commenced with Durkin remarking on comments made on Dunstan by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Specifically, the fact Whitlam said ‘No one has done more to transform his own community and society and… the whole of Australia.’ Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Durkin suggested that for such a renowned figure to make these comments, Dunstan must have been significant!

Woollacott then took to the lectern and listed a snapshot of Dunstan’s political achievements, including working towards Aboriginal land rights, equality, and Adelaide’s dining culture. Additionally, Woollacott paid homage to Dunstan’s very own Adelaide Festival performance in 1974, where he recited Ogden Nash poetry accompanied by Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals a stone’s throw away at the Adelaide Zoo – to a sold-out audience, no less.

When Woollacott took time to quote reviews of her book to the audience, it was not to gloat, but to vividly illustrate the far-reaching impact Dunstan had on Australia. From The Saturday Paper’s Linda Jaivin recognising how much the former Premier shaped ‘the Australia I fell in love with’, to Adelaide’s own David Penberthy praising Dunstan’s progressive revamp of South Australia’s capital. Arguably pointed at the current political establishment, Woollacott quoted Christine Wallace, who posed and answered a poignant question in The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘What do you do with a politician capable of achieving an 82 percent approval rating? Answer: Study them closely.’

In working on the biography since 2011, Woollacott believed Dunstan’s importance to Australia was motivation enough to see it through and that researching him only enhanced her view of the man. As an Adelaide local, Woollacott said she came of age while Dunstan was Premier of South Australia, seeing firsthand the changes made during what is commonly referred to as the ‘Dunstan Decade’.

Once the format switched to a conversation between Woollacott and Durkin, the discussion turned to how strong a campaigner Dunstan was. Particularly in 1968, how he overcame the gerrymander in place which favoured the Liberal and Country League (LCL) party, and how his national campaigning embarrassed then-Premier Steele Hall into beginning to redraw the electoral boundaries. Dunstan was heralded by both Durkin and Woollacott for working with tenacity and passion towards objectives others thought impossible.

Other points of discussion included Dunstan’s love of the arts and willingness to invest political capital into it, which was unusual for the Australian Labor Party at the time. Additionally, his creativity in using the media advantageously was praised. Woollacott recalled Dunstan as an early adopter of opinion polls; not as a method of informing policy, but to help him identify where and how he could better explain his policies. Further, Dunstan’s elocution lessons and background in theatre helped to punctuate his points in a way few others could.

Additionally, both speakers commented on Dunstan’s ability to inspire bipartisanship, including a unique relationship with former LCL Premier Sir Thomas Playford, whom the former would regularly invite to discuss political matters in a pinch. Woollacott and Durkin took amusement in discussing a photo at Dunstan’s 50th birthday party, where he and Playford were pictured next to Whitlam and Bob Hawke – a stark contrast of political allegiances. They also commented on Dunstan’s focus on consensus leadership, different to the factional politics prevalent today.

Known for being a colourful character in many aspects of life, Dunstan is perhaps best known for the iconic photo of him wearing pink shorts and a tight, white t-shirt to Parliament House – against the wishes of his advisers. Woollacott suggested Dunstan was doing gym workouts at the time and was keen to show off his ‘quite buff’ figure.

Light-heartedly, albeit with an undeniable sense of frustration, Woollacott wished more people knew Dunstan for more than just pink shorts. This sentiment was shared by Anne Levy AO who was in attendance, believing more is required to educate younger generations on Dunstan’s legacy.

While there will only ever be one Don Dunstan, Woollacott implored current leaders to lead with curiosity and imagination, and lamented the absence of these qualities in the years since Dunstan’s time in politics. Further illustrating this, Woollacott pointed to Donald Horne’s 1964 book The Lucky Country which famously stated that ‘Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.’ Woollacott spoke about how Dunstan was a bold leader actively interested in public affairs- something she yearns for a return to in the current political arena.

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 …

New Executive Director Announced

The Don Dunstan Foundation has today announced the appointment of Ritchie Hollands as its next Executive Director to further build on the legacy of former South Australian Premier Don Dunstan.

Previously the Official Secretary to South Australia’s Governor Hieu Van Le, Mr Hollands’ career spans 20 years with roles in the executive, judicial and parliamentary arms of Government in both Adelaide and Canberra.

Mr Hollands says it’s an exciting time to be joining the Don Dunstan Foundation, which is driving community awareness and influencing change on important social issues.

“I’m really looking forward to contributing to the continued success of the Foundation, while drawing on my professional experience in government as well as my volunteer roles in the social sector,”

Mr Hollands is the current President of the Australian Refugee Association, and has served as an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign seeking to eliminate violence against women.

“I’ve long been an admirer of Don Dunstan’s decisive leadership and courageous vision for South Australia, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support his legacy.”

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s Chairperson, the Honourable Reverend Dr Lynn Arnold AO welcomes Mr Hollands to the important role of leading the Foundation and says the area of focus remains paying tribute to the narrative-changing role played by Don Dunstan during his lifetime.

This includes cultural diversity, freedom of individuals to control their lives, distribution of global wealth, democratic and inclusive forms of governance, respect for fundamental human rights as well as indigenous people and protection of their rights.

Mr Hollands will commence the role in September and replaces David Pearson who will finish up at the Foundation during the same month.

“I would also like to thank Mr Pearson for his outstanding contribution to the Don Dunstan Foundation including his work on new programs such as the Adelaide Zero Project – aiming to end street homelessness in the inner city and the Thinkers in Residence program – attracting world experts to urgently address local social challenges. I wish him every success in his future endeavours,” Dr Arnold says.

For more information please call the Foundation on 08 8313 3364.

Design competition winner announced

As part of our work with young people and the universities in South Australia, we ran a competition for student designers to come up with artwork for an event at the Foundation.
This years winner was Janin Hentzen, whose artwork will feature in our marketing and promotional materials next year. Her wonderful design featured a picture of Don, and incorporated the Foundation’s primary colours with a modern flair.
Keep an eye out for her well designed artwork in the coming months.

A big congratulations to Janin and our thanks for her effort on the project.

Janin Hentzen, winner of DDF marketing competition.

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.