How we plan to end street homelessness: Adelaide Zero Project

The City Messenger, 22 February 2018 | Jade Gailberger

ADELAIDE will aim to eradicate street homelessness in the CBD by the end of 2020 under a plan unveiled on Thursday by the Don Dunstan Foundation.

The Adelaide Zero Project, launched in August last year, has now formed an action plan to achieve “functional zero” — when the number of people that are homeless on any night is no greater than the housing availability on that night.

Don Dunstan Foundation executive director David Pearson said the 2020 commitment was an achievable and sustainable goal, as about 120 people sleep rough across the city.

“We can now start implementing a plan to make functional zero homelessness a reality,” he said.

Under phase one of the project beginning in April, an aligned housing working group will be led by Anglicare while the Adelaide City Council will work with businesses to establish an ‘alliance to end homelessness’.

Between May and December, the Hutt St Centre will confirm the names of all the people sleeping rough in the CBD as well as their needs, while mental health service provider Neami National will maintain a list of every person sleeping rough throughout the year.

Neami National SA state manager Kim Holmes said they aim to learn people’s life stories while collecting data that will reduce the wait for housing.

“There’s nothing more important than people having a home and a place in our community,” she said.

An online dashboard will publish the live number of rough sleepers and those now in housing from July, and a plan to ensure there is sufficient housing available in the public system to put everyone on the “by-name list” will be released in December.

The number of rough sleepers in the city have dropped to their lowest in two years, with 74 people recorded at the last rough sleeper count last September — compared to 123 rough sleepers at the beginning of 2017.

The September figure is the lowest count recorded since August 2015, when 60 people were sleeping rough.

Mr Pearson said the action plan marked a significant step forward to developing long-term solutions to homelessness, that was not focused on crisis accommodation.