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Adelaide Commits to ‘Functional Zero Homelessness’ by 2020


26 February 2018 at 3:17 pm
Luke Michael
An action plan has been developed to achieve functional zero homelessness in Adelaide by 2020, with a coalition of community service providers, government agencies and private sector organisations committed to leading the charge.


Luke Michael | 26 February 2018 at 3:17 pm


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Adelaide Commits to ‘Functional Zero Homelessness’ by 2020
26 February 2018 at 3:17 pm

An action plan has been developed to achieve functional zero homelessness in Adelaide by 2020, with a coalition of community service providers, government agencies and private sector organisations committed to leading the charge.

The Adelaide Zero Project was launched by The Don Dunstan Foundation in August last year, looking to target rough sleeping in Adelaide’s CBD and achieve functional zero homelessness.

This functional zero approach aims to have the number of homeless people on any given night no greater than housing placement availability.

After a 90 day design process, an action plan to reach functional zero homelessness was released on Thursday.

Politicians from all political parties signed on to support the Zero Project’s 2020 target, while more than 30 organisations committed to taking part in the action plan.

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s executive director David Pearson told Pro Bono News that it was a collaborative project.                                                             

“It starts with knowing every person sleeping rough in the city by name and creating what we call a ‘by name list’,” Pearson said.

“The Hutt Street Centre in Adelaide are going to help us run Connections Week where we go out and make a connection with every single person sleeping rough, and then another organisation Neami – who runs our Street to Home service – are going to maintain that ‘by name list’.

“And once we’ve got that list then the plan is to make sure that we are coordinating the care that is available for those people. So it’s a really collaborative project where all of the different service providers, government agencies and the private sector are coming together to achieve that 2020 goal.”

Pearson said the collaboration between different stakeholders in the project was “fundamental” to its success.  

“Without all of the organisations contributing their little parts we wouldn’t have a project and wouldn’t have any hope of changing what has been a longstanding issue,” he said.

“Homelessness has been around [in Adelaide] for a long time… We got it down in the city to about 40 people in 2009. Late last year it went up to the highest level we’ve ever seen before at 125 people.

“And since this coalition of organisations has come together it’s started to fall again and we want to make it fall all the way to a functional zero, and the only way we can do that is with all of these organisations working together collaboratively.”

Adelaide is the first city outside the United States to commit to the Project Zero program.

It has been implemented in 75 US communities, seven of which have achieved functional zero homelessness for veterans, while four communities have achieved this for chronically homeless people.

Pearson said he was proud Adelaide was talking such a strong stand on the issue.

“There are a number of other cities in Australia who are doing elements of this approach. But we think we are the first in Australia or outside of North America really, to commit to the whole functional zero approach that’s been pioneered by Community Solutions in the US,” Pearson said.

“It also involves a charter where all members of the South Australian community can sign on to be part of this project, whether they’re business leaders, whether they’re homeless people themselves, whether they’re service providers, public servants or political parties.

“We’ll be asking every single person in South Australia to commit and contribute to this project in whatever way they can.”

AnglicareSA is one of the organisations involved in the project and will provide an Aligned Housing Plan to ensure housing is prioritised for people on the “by name list”.

CEO Rev Peter Sandeman said: “Collective action is the only way to approach Adelaide’s homelessness and housing challenges and it’s heartening to see the number of organisations signing up to the 2020 target.”

The City of Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese, said Project Zero was a fantastic initiative for the city.

“The implementation plan marks an important step in responding to this complex issue and towards achieving functional zero homelessness in the City of Adelaide,” Haese said.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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