The community of Mandurah has become the second Australian community to achieve a measurable reduction in street homelessness, or people sleeping rough – a key milestone on the path to ending rough sleeping homelessness as part of the Advance to Zero Campaign, a national initiative of more than 30 communities working to end homelessness.
Communities involved in the AtoZ Campaign all aim to reach one milestone, known as functional zero. Functional zero is reached when a community demonstrates that their system is routinely housing more people than are coming into it, and has sustained that state for a period of time.
At the heart of these efforts is a comprehensive list of every person in a community experiencing homelessness, updated in real-time, known as a By-Name List. Through By-Name Lists, communities can track how many people are experiencing homelessness month over month and whether that number is going up or down.
Since January 2023, Mandurah has housed almost 100 people off their By-Name List through a mix of private and public housing, and through the partnership between the WA State Government and Housing Choices Djuripiny Mia program, which has provided vital housing solutions for those requiring a supportive landlord approach. A shift occurs when a community’s data indicates a measurable, meaningful reduction of 20% in rough sleeping homelessness for six consecutive months.
Michala McMahon, Director of Practice and Improvement at the WAAEH, said: “We’re thrilled to announce the news of Mandurah’s shift reduction. Shifts are a sign that a community has made a major system improvement and is a critical step towards ending homelessness.
“A key element of the Advance to Zero Campaign is building an understanding that ending homelessness is possible. The work of communities like Mandurah is an inspiring reminder that there is strength in collaboration, and when we work together we can achieve great things.”
Natalie Sangalli, Chief Operating Officer at Housing Choices WA, said: “It is fantastic to be contributing to the solution to homelessness, and to see such immediate results of a whole community and a whole sector pulling in the same direction.”
The community of Mandurah credits the milestone to strong collaboration among the various stakeholders engaged in the Mandurah Zero Project, voluntary outreach services, and the WA State Government and City of Mandurah's commitment to funding outreach services, which has been instrumental in identifying individuals and families experiencing homelessness and linking them to appropriate support.
In addition, regular meetings known as the Rough Sleeper Coordination Groups offer an opportunity for service providers in Mandurah to join forces and provide holistic support to those who need it. The employment of Nick Mathieson, the region's Community Impact Advisor, has also been crucial in maintaining community cohesion and facilitating regular communication between key stakeholders, whilst building solid partnerships to drive change.
This comprehensive approach emphasises that community-led initiatives and collaborative partnerships play a crucial role in tackling homelessness. A higher-level regional approach that includes Mandurah, Rockingham, and Kwinana has fostered a shared community mindset, dedicated to creating change across their regions.
The first community to achieve a shift in Australia was Port Phillip Zero in September 2021.
To learn more about the AtoZ Campaign, visit aaeh.org.au/atoz
Track the progress of WA Zero Projects at zeroprojectwa.org.au/track-our-progress/