Advance to Zero

Ending Street Homelessness in Communities Around WA

Advance to Zero, as it is known in Australia, is derived from the ‘Built for Zero’ approach, born out of the United States. It is a rigorous international change effort working to help a core group of committed communities end homelessness.


Developed and driven by Community Solutions, this international effort guides participants in developing real time data on homelessness, optimising local housing and support resources and tracking progress against monthly goals.

How does it work?

Advance to Zero, or ‘Built for Zero’ as it’s known in USA, is an approach to achieving ‘functional zero’ for those experiencing homelessnesss in a city or town area using a combination of quality real-time data and service coordination. One of the key tools used in this approach is the ‘By-Name List’. People and organisations working with people experiencing homelessness come together to use the list to analyse what is working and to adapt the service responses to get better outcomes. 

The list collects inflow and outflow data (see diagram below) to show month-by-month data about how many people are actively homeless in a community, whether this is reducing or not (Inflow), and how many people are moving out of homelessness (Outflow) each month.

Six Key Data Points

Getting to Proof Points: Key learning from the first three years of the 'Built for Zero' initiative. A Report by Community Solutions

Getting to Proof Points: Key learning from the first three years of the 'Built for Zero' initiative. A Report by Community Solutions.

The list records their status including whether they are rough sleeping or in accommodation. It tracks their movements into and out of homelessness. It also includes some basic information about whether someone has a lead worker (if available).

The WA Context

In early 2019, the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness brought key representatives from capital cities around Australia to co-invest in learning about, and developing, the ‘Advance to Zero’ approach (read more about the national campaign here).

Representatives from Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane all participated in a 2-Day Action Lab in Perth in February 2019. Since then, the Perth Interagency Team have been working hard to develop the relationships, policies, procedures, and know-how to implement an ‘Advance to Zero’ approach in WA.

Ruah Community Services provides the backbone support to the Advance to Zero approach in WA through the Zero Project – Housing First Coordination for WA. This is partially funded through the WA State Government’s appointment of the project as the co-ordinating body for the Housing First Homelessness Initiative. Additional funding from Lotterywest, resources the By-Name List and the roll out of Housing First training for the sector. The State Government is also providing new funding to support people in their housing (Housing First Support Service) and providing a private rental subsidy (Finding Home Program).

The Zero Project works closely with the WAAEH to develop and roll out the Advance to Zero approach in WA, with the Alliance taking the lead at a strategic level and the Zero Project providing support and a backbone resource on the day to day level. The Zero Project manages the By-Name List – a tool that enables organisations from across the sector to collaboratively track and quantify homelessness, so local communities have access to real time data. This information will drive evidence-based improvements to help reduce rough sleeping and chronic homelessness. The By-Name List is the key tool for working collaboratively to address housing and support needs for people experiencing homelessness.

Further Information

A Global Movement

Read more about other communities around the world who have succeeded with this approach.

- Three U.S. cities have ended homelessness. This is they did it.

- Built for Zero.

Get Involved


If you think your organisation has a part to play in the WA Advance to Zero or would like to understand more about the approach, please contact or the Zero Project directly at