Communities around Australia has met in Brisbane for the nation’s first Summit to End Homelessness, which showcased proven and measurable strategies that have underpinned the successful end to homelessness in communities from Canada and the United States of America.
The sold-out Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH) Summit showed the very possible systemic strategies that have ended homelessness internationally so communities can duplicate this success here in Australia.
Using real-time data and collaborative approaches between the health, housing, homelessness sectors and all levels of government, ending homelessness is possible and progress is being demonstrated through communities across Australia.
The Summit provided a unique opportunity for the more than 26 communities that are part of the Advance to Zero Campaign in Australia to learn directly from experts that have helped the 18 communities in the USA and Canada. The objective was to ensure everyone has access to the housing and support they need so that any future incidents of homelessness that do occur are rare, brief, and a one-time occurrence.
AAEH CEO David Pearson said the success in ending homelessness was underpinned by local Zero Projects or Campaigns, which empower local communities to deliver local solutions to ending homelessness.
“It’s hard to change what you don’t measure and in Australia we don’t really measure how much homelessness there is – we estimate it every five years in the census. This isn’t good enough and the Advance to Zero movement is about local communities saying we’ve had enough of waiting for governments to act, and we’re going to take action ourselves,” he said.
“More and more communities are taking action by creating what’s called a by-name list, a particularly revolutionary idea of actually knowing the names and the needs of all the people in a community who are experiencing homelessness and then rallying the whole community around meeting that effort.
“Homelessness is not normal. It was created by public policy and it can be solved by better public policy. The Advance to Zero campaign is about communities coming together to demonstrate what it would take to end homelessness, community by community.”
Included in the week of activities were training sessions, an Advance to Zero learning session and a series of workshops that covered topics including:
The role of data and improvement in ending homelessness
Case studies from the success of US and Canadian communities that have ended homelessness
Building an Australian Homelessness Vulnerability Triage Tool (AHVTT)
First Nations homelessness
Strengthening the role of lived experience voices in ending homelessness
Building an Australian Supportive Housing System workshop
Australian Health, Housing and Homelessness Network workshop (A3HN)
Australian and New Zealand Common Ground Community of Practice.