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.

Working together to prevent homelessness: Developing the Health, Housing and Homelessness Papers

Housing and health outcomes are intrinsically linked, and addressing these issues collectively is pivotal to preventing homelessness. Through a Public Health Partner Authority Agreement, the Don Dunstan Foundation and Wellbeing SA, along with SA Housing Authority and The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise within UniSA Business, have developed a conceptual framework through the Health, Housing and Homelessness paper series to improve our understanding of the multidirectional relationship between health and housing.

The dominant message the Health, Housing and Homelessness Papers highlight is the proven link between good quality and appropriate housing and good physical, mental and emotional health.  Additionally, the Papers also aim to show why developing policy geared towards supporting people’s housing needs is beneficial to the wider community.

According to the 2016 Census, 43.1% of low income households were in rental stress, where housing costs exceeded 30% of their gross income (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018). Rental stress impacts people’s ability to afford necessities for wellbeing, such as medical costs, healthy food and utilities.

The Health, Housing and Homelessness paper series includes:

The Papers build on the well-established public health understanding of prevention. Prevention, in the context of homelessness, does not currently have the same depth of understanding.

The third Paper in the Health, Housing and Homelessness series includes a homelessness prevention continuum adapted from a public health approach. This continuum considers a broad housing system and demonstrates how multi-level strategies can be translated into practical steps towards preventing homelessness and strengthening housing security.

Each paper was co-authored by Dr Victoria Skinner (SA Housing Authority), Dr Selina Tually (UniSA), Dr Beth Keough and Associate Professor Carmel Williams (Wellbeing SA), and Clare Rowley and Renee Jones (Don Dunstan Foundation). The Papers were developed using a Collective Impact approach, driven by multi-sector collaboration to achieve a common goal. The principles of Collective Impact are:

  • Common Agenda – all participants share a vision for change, including a common understanding of the problem and an agreed solution.
  • Shared Measurement Systems – alignment of participants’ efforts directed by a shared data collection and measurement methodology.
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities – highly coordinated approach to participants undertaking specific activities that support other participants’ activities, as opposed to many working in isolation.
  • Continuous Communication – long-term, consistent and open communication between participants to build trust and understanding.
  • Backbone Support Organisations – an organisation separate to the participants who can facilitate ongoing management and support of the initiative, such as the Don Dunstan Foundation’s Adelaide Zero Project team.

For further information, each of the Health, Housing and Homelessness Papers are available to read online, in addition to an easy-to-read infographic highlighting the important relationship between health and housing.

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 …

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.

IGH Report Launched

Institute of Global Homelessness Report Launched

As you may remember, the Adelaide Zero Project hosted Dame Louise Casey, a leading UK International Homelessness expert from the Institute of Global Homelessness, in September last year.

As an outcome of this visit, Dame Louise has produced a report urging Adelaide to become more flexible in providing support to the city’s most vulnerable rough sleepers.

The report contains 28 recommendations to the Adelaide Zero Project partners and stakeholders to achieve and sustain Functional Zero homelessness in the City of Adelaide by the end of 2020.

They include:

  • Increasing the supply of housing options through a range of efforts
  • Boosting the investment in Adelaide Zero Project’s ‘backbone’ work
  • Investing in early intervention work to prevent homelessness
  • Investigating the creation of a centralised Hub of essential front line services
  • Addressing the fact that Adelaide’s homelessness system does not currently meet the cultural needs of Aboriginal people sleeping rough

Since Connections Week in May last year, 108 people on the By-Name List have been supported into secure housing, a phenomenal achievement.

However, we still have a big task ahead of us; tonight over 100 people will still be sleeping rough on the streets and Parklands of our city. Our latest data is available here.

This report sets an ambitious range of recommendations for Adelaide that we need to take action on if we are to achieve the goal of Functional Zero street homelessness in the inner city.

Thank you to the many organisations who took the time to meet with Dame Louise Casey during her visit. We look forward to working collaboratively to turn these recommendations into action and achieve Functional Zero street homelessness.

Read the Support Visit Review Report.

Lord Mayoral candidates urged to sign homelessness pledge

The Adelaide Zero Project is seeking commitment from all Adelaide City Council candidates to back Adelaide’s efforts to become the first Australian city to achieve Functional Zero[i] homelessness within two years.

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson, whose organisation is coordinating the project, says it’s about shoring up support to have the candidates publicly and formally endorse Adelaide Zero Project.

“To date, the current Lord Mayor and councillors of Adelaide City Council have been crucial in helping the project to support rough sleepers into secure housing and we look forward to this continuing after the election,” Mr Pearson says.

“Over 30 organisations are driving Adelaide Zero Project and by having Adelaide City Council candidates sign a Statement of Commitment to fully support this initiative, reflects the all of community approach needed to end street homelessness.”

Lord Mayoral candidates Sandy Verschoor, Steven Kelly, Mark Eric Hamilton and Kate Treloar are among those being asked to support ending street homelessness in the City of Adelaide by the end of 2020.

A pledge event hosted by Uniting Communities and Flinders University, will be held on Wednesday 24 October from midday at Flinders University, 182 Victoria Square.

“We’ve been blown away by the amount of support we’ve received with over two thirds of candidates committing to attend this important event,” Mr Pearson says.

Since Adelaide Zero Project’s Connections Week in May this year, 68 people on the By- Name List have been relocated into secure housing.

The Project’s online dashboard, the first of its kind in Australia, shows 149 people are actively sleeping rough in the inner-city.

“Adelaide Zero Project is continuing to focus on how to make additional housing options available and improve overall access to homelessness services,” Mr Pearson says.

“We’re implementing new measures including a Business Alliance, led by Adelaide City Council, to engage corporate leaders and traders in developing solutions to end homelessness.”

Adelaide City Council extended its partnership with Don Dunstan Foundation last month, to support the Zero Project, bringing its total commitment to over $340,000 in funding over three years.

MEDIA RELEASE: 26 October 2018


For interviews or further information please contact The Message Bureau on 08 8223 7703 or 0419 754 564.

[i]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 for that same time period.

Adelaide Zero Project Partners

Adelaide Zero Project Welcomes Expert from Chicago on Ending Homelessness

The Zero Project continues to attract worldwide attention, as it works towards Adelaide becoming the first Australian city to achieve and sustain Functional Zero[1] homelessness in the CBD by 2020.

Dr Nonie Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of All Chicago, a not-for-profit organisation that works with a vision on “Making Homelessness History,” is in Adelaide to assist moving more rough sleepers into secure housing.

“In Chicago, I won’t be satisfied until we create an environment where everybody has a home – regardless of where they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going,” Dr Brennan says.

“We’re currently focussed on ending veteran and chronic homelessness, which is achievable.”

Dr Brennan who is also from the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH), has been instrumental in Chicago experiencing a 20 per cent decrease in overall street homelessness over the last 15 years.

She is responsible for securing, distributing, and monitoring over $70 million annually in public and private funding to prevent and end homelessness in Chicago.

“My father was homeless as a teenager, so I have a deep personal connection to social justice,” Dr Brennan says.

The Adelaide Zero Project’s online dashboard shows 149 people are actively sleeping rough in the inner-city. Since Connections Week in May this year, 58 people on the By-Name List have now moved into secure housing.

“Reducing street homelessness is all about a collaborative approach,” Dr Brennan says.

“I’ve been impressed how everybody has come together for the Adelaide Zero Project and is committed to sharing the same goal. This collective impact is the key to addressing homelessness,” Dr Brennan says.

“There is always a need for greater flexibility when rebuilding and strengthening a homelessness system. This includes bringing more funding and available services to the table.”

Dame Louise Casey, also a driving force behind IGH, has returned to Adelaide and praised the Zero Project’s efforts to date in establishing a By-Name List and knowing who has secured permanent housing.

“Adelaide is still in desperate need of additional crisis beds to get more rough sleepers off the streets. Providing immediate shelter is always a significant challenge and can be overcome by improving access to homelessness services,” Dame Louise says.

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson says to attract and develop working relationships with peers who are recognised internationally for their work to end homelessness, is a real coup.

“It enables us to share resources and strengthens the global movement to end street homelessness,” Mr Pearson says.

Adelaide is the only ‘vanguard city’ in Australia – one of 10 cities worldwide to be recognised for its pioneering efforts to solve the problem of homelessness.


For interviews or further information please contact The Message Bureau on 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 for that same time period.

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 19 September 2018

Adelaide Zero Project Partners

What Adelaide Zero Project learned from talking to 143 people sleeping rough

The Mandarin | Harley Dennett

Learning what people sleeping rough need from government and charities isn’t easy — especially when even their name is unknown.

When a coalition of government, not-for-profit and commercial organisations joined to tackle homelessness in the City of Adelaide last year, aiming to be the first Australian city to achieve and sustain ‘functional zero’ street homelessness, it was in the path to the state government election.

It’s no idle risk to politicise good endeavours, so state leaders and candidates made little comment. But now the South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has admitted that he’s among those closely watching the two-year plan to end ‘functional homelessness’ called Adelaide Zero Project, praising it and its key players for dealing with one of society’s complex policy problems.

Since we covered the implementation plan in February, the project has moved from talking about implementation to actually doing it. It started with learning more about those sleeping rough. More than 200 volunteers spent several nights earlier this month getting to know the people sleeping rough in the city in an effort to better understand their needs.