Adelaide on target to be first city in Australia to end homelessness as volunteers identify rough sleepers

Adelaide is one step closer to achieving its goal of ending street homelessness, after more than 200 volunteers spent the past week getting to know the people sleeping rough in our city in an effort to better understand their needs.

Dubbed ‘Connections Week’, the initiative is a major milestone within the Adelaide Zero Project and its goal for Adelaide to be the first Australian city to achieve and sustain Functional Zero[1] street homelessness.

The Don Dunstan Foundation is the backbone organisation for the Adelaide Zero Project, which involves 35 partnering organisations including inner city homelessness services, Principal Partner, Bendigo Bank, state government, City of Adelaide, University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

The city’s first Connections Week (from 14-17 May) marked the start of the implementation phase of the Adelaide Zero Project, led by the Don Dunstan Foundation.

Over the four-day initiative, more than 200 outreach workers and volunteers tried to connect with every person sleeping rough in the city to get to know them by name and better understand their needs.

The data collected during Connections Week can be downloaded at

Adelaide Zero Project Co-Chair Peter Sandeman said the value of Connections Week could not be understated.

“Aside from this data, our 200 volunteers have been out there starting a conversation about homelessness in Adelaide,” Mr Sandeman said.

“The work we have undertaken this week and the data we have collected will prove vital to ending homelessness in the CBD by 2020,” he said.

“This data will be used to create a By-Name list, a critical first step towards prioritising and coordinating housing and other supports for those in need.”

“Ending functional homelessness in Adelaide’s CBD is possible,” Mr Sandeman said.

“Instead of telling rough sleepers what they need, we are engaging with them and then working with not-for-profits, communities, the business sector and government to provide a sustainable solution.”

It is a mission wholeheartedly supported by the City of Adelaide said The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Martin Haese.

“Connections Week is a great example of inner city services and community volunteers working together to support people sleeping rough in the city,” Mr Haese said.

“The City of Adelaide is proud to be a partner of the Adelaide Zero Project and contribute funding towards Connections Week.

“We now look forward to working with our partners towards ending rough sleeping in the City of Adelaide.”

Bendigo Adelaide Bank Ltd is also proud to support the Don Dunstan Foundation and the vital mission of Adelaide Zero Project Connections Week said State Manager, SA/NT Paul Mertin.

“Every homeless person has a name and by learning their names, making sound connections and establishing firm and trusting relationships, we can help turn lives around and reach our 2020 vision,” Mr Mertin said.

The Don Dunstan Foundation initiated the Adelaide Zero Project with a diverse range of organisations to achieve a common goal – ending street homelessness in the City of Adelaide.

This successful process of collaboration can serve as a blue-print for many projects that can provide significant community benefit for South Australia into the future.

Working side by side, the Adelaide Zero Project have professionals and volunteers from not-for-profit sector, and private sector organisations that understand the common good, the resources and vigour of South Australia’s two leading Universities and the foresight and commitment of the City of Adelaide and the State Government.


The data collected during Connections Week can be downloaded at

 Adelaide Zero Project Partners

Presented by

Don Dunstan Foundation

Principal Partner

Bendigo Bank

[1] Functional Zero street homelessness is achieved when the number of people who are sleeping rough at any time is no greater than the average housing capacity.

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