Zero Project: Housing First Coordination for WA

Authored by:

Paul Flatau, Shannen Vallesi

Status: In Progress

The Centre for Social Impact UWA is a key research partner on the Zero Project (previously known as the 50 Lives 50 Homes project).

Led by Ruah Community Services, the project adopts a ‘Housing First’ model - an internationally evidenced model that uses a recovery-oriented approach to end homelessness in WA, including rapid access to housing and wrap-around support. 

The collective impact approach of Zero Project towards ending homelessness builds on the success of the innovative 50 Lives 50 Homes project, working with communities across the Perth metropolitan area, Geraldton, Mandurah, Bunbury and Rockingham.

The Zero Project employs an Advance to Zero methodology that counts down the number of people needing housing, as opposed to counting the number of people housed.

Download each of the research reports and additional resources via the links below.

First Evaluation Report

The first research study (June 2017) showed how long term homelessness is associated with high levels of health problems, trauma and disability. Within its first year, the Zero Project housed 42 individuals and 8 families.

Second Evaluation Report

The second research report (September 2018) described the progress of the Zero Project in relation to housing, health and justice outcomes. Administrative hospital and police data was used to look at preliminary changes in contacts with these sectors once clients had been housed for 6 or 12 months.

Third Evaluation Report

The third evaluation report (April 2020) provided an in-depth examination of housing outcomes and tenancy retention, and reported on changes in hospital use (emergency department, inpatient admissions and ambulance use) for eight Perth metropolitan hospitals and justice system contacts (WA Police Force contacts and court appearances) for those people housed for one year or more and for a smaller cohort of those housed for two or more years.

An Evaluation Snapshot: Aboriginal Experiences of Housing First

Launched in May 2021, the most recent research project report, Aboriginal Experiences of Housing First, by Associate Professor Lisa Wood and Shannen Vallesi, found that wait times differed significantly between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rough sleepers.

The report makes several recommendations to improve the way in which housing providers engaged with Aboriginal tenants and potential tenants, including the employment of more Aboriginal support workers and an increase in larger homes to accommodate family obligations.

An Evaluation Snapshot: Youth Experiences of Housing First

Launched in October 2021, Youth Experiences of Housing First by Shannen Vallesi, Donna Quinn and Associate Professor Lisa Wood found that it was quicker for young people to be housed via the Priority Housing List, but longer to be housed compared to adults overall.

The report makes several recommendations for the future development of the Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) model for Australia and reflects the need for housing choice, that young people don’t necessarily want a 'forever home', and the necessity of embedding trauma informed practice into care.

The value of after-hours support: A Housing First response to ending homelessness

Launched in December 2021, The value of after-hours support as a part of a Housing First response to ending homelessness, was released. This snapshot report by Shannen Vallesi, Matthew Tuson, Jake Turvey and Associate Professor Lisa Wood describes the invaluable service that the After Hours Support Service (AHSS) has provided to people recently housed through Housing First.

Under Housing First principles, having a model of flexible and ongoing support is critical to supporting people to maintain their tenancies. The AHSS is a collaboration between Ruah Community Services and Homeless Healthcare, and provides nursing and psychosocial support across Perth on evenings, weekends and public holidays, including emotional support, assistance with health issues, goal setting and motivation, and other types of tenancy support. The AHSS appears to be the only after-hours service of this kind for Housing First internationally.

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