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Pulse Session 2021: Advance to Zero

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

The last session focused on the work being done in Perth by The Zero Project based on the Advance to Zero methodology.

Executive Officer of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance) John Berger showed a presentation delivered by the CEO at Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, Marie Morrison. The presentation highlights the work Canada has done to engage the community in ending homelessness and the similarities with Australia in terms of work being done.

A further short presentation developed by Community Solutions was shown which explains the Advance to Zero methodology and how it is being applied nationally and internationally. Advance to Zero supports the Alliance’s approach to the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Western Australia.

Perth Update

In Perth, The Zero Project manages a By-Name List. Each month a data dashboard report is formulated which can be viewed on our website. The list covers the areas of Perth, Fremantle and surrounds.

Nghia Luong, Senior Community Worker - Data Lead at Ruah gave commentary on the results. The data is collected from over 17 organisations and each month it tracks the inflow of people into homelessness, those who are actively homeless include people who are sleeping rough and those staying in temporary accommodation and then those leaving homelessness.

“We know them by name, we know them by location because the database collects this and we know who is supporting them,” explained Nghia. “In April we know there were nearly 1,000 people experiencing homelessness and 465 of those are sleeping rough. There were 13 people who were housed into permanent housing. This was a small number when you look at the inflow and the 111 people newly identified as experiencing homelessness,” he said. “This picture has never been available to us, there is no other data we can get at the moment to generate this kind of information.”

Nghia Luong

In terms of the outflow Nghia explained how the inactive category worked. The database stops counting if there has been no update for more than 90 days. Inactive means they could be in prison, have gone into a long-term hospital stay or even deceased. The category identifies those where an organisation loses track of the person until contact is made again.

There has been steady growth with the figures stabilising now. Nghia accounted the spike in January 2021, where over 100 people were added, due to the Pioneer Park tent city in Fremantle. “It surprised us that those people were not captured before in the By-Name List,” Nghia said.

Regional Updates

In regional Western Australia, many communities have established teams to carry out work on achieving a functional zero milestone.

Both Mandurah and Rockingham have set functional zero targets already. Mandurah want to end homelessness in its CBD and surrounding suburbs by 2025 and Rockingham also want to end homelessness by 2025 for the surrounding suburbs and in Kwinana. There is a Mandurah/Rockingham improvement team who are finalising and identifying services which can start working and achieving a 90 per cent coverage of services for their By-Name List dashboard.

In Bunbury they are working on functional zero for rough sleepers by 2025. Training is being carried out, so local services understand the methodology and the community is being invited to attend Housing First training.

Department of Communities

Julia Prior Manager, Homelessness in the Department of Communities gave an update.

Julia Prior

Ms Prior spoke about the Housing First Homelessness Initiative (HFHI) which supports the Zero Project. This funding directly supports the work of Ruah as the backbone and the various sector organisations involved in the HFHI. “We have now awarded all of the contracts for the Housing First Support Services in all locations, new staff are being hired and services are rolling out so we will start to see the results of that soon,” Ms Prior said.

Next Pulse Session

The Centre for Social Impact UWA have been collating local data on homelessness and in particular the Alliance and some of the objectives we have set ourselves in our 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in WA. They will give us an annual update on how we are tracking towards achieving those objectives. More information to follow.


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