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Adelaide, Australia Becomes the First Community Outside North America to Achieve Quality Data

January 15, 2020

With their quality by-name list, Adelaide leaders are now able to collect and act upon information about every person sleeping rough (aka sleeping outside) in their community at any given time.

In December, Built for Zero confirmed that Adelaide, Australia reached a critical milestone in its efforts to end rough sleeping across Adelaide by becoming the first community outside of North America to achieve quality by-name list data.

A quality by-name list provides a real-time snapshot of all persons experiencing homelessness in a community, serving as a means of assessing what type of housing or support intervention each person in a community needs to exit homelessness permanently. This real-time data is also a tool for making constant improvements in a community’s work to connect people to housing and support resources quickly. Within the U.S., there are currently 73 communities that have achieved quality real-time data on homelessness. In turn, 44 communities have achieved reductions in their actively homeless number, with 11 communities getting all the way to zero.

Community Solutions Founder and President Rosanne Haggerty spoke at the 2016 Homelessness Conference in Adelaide, where she issued a challenge to the community to put in place a plan to end street homelessness. Haggerty said that in order to end homelessness in South Australia, she believed it would take a shift in the communities from seeing themselves as a collection of housing and service agencies to a rational housing system fashioned to systematically end homelessness over time. 

The Adelaide Zero Project is the response to that challenge, with organizations from across the public, private, community, and university sectors taking a collective impact approach toward that goal. Jake Maguire, Co-Director of Built for Zero, said that the launch of the Zero Project is about convening a shared space where all of the key local players can engage with a single live data set and make responsive decisions as a single system.

“We have got to start treating this problem as a dynamic problem, and understanding it over time in real time if we want to make an impact on the issue,“ explained Maguire at the 2019 Homelessness Conference held in Adelaide in August.

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s Executive Director Ritchie Hollands said it is an exciting achievement for Adelaide to be the first city in Australia to have this certification. “No other community outside of North America has met this foundational standard for understanding, in real-time, who and how many people are sleeping on the streets. The Adelaide Zero Project is extremely proud to take the mantle for our quality homelessness data and continue to lead the country in the work we are doing to house those most vulnerable in our society,” Hollands said.

Built for Zero currently works with five cities in Australia — Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Congratulations to the Adelaide Zero Project for this significant achievement — and for becoming an international example for what is possible in the work to create a lasting end homelessness that leaves no one behind.