The Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH), led by West End based Micah Projects, has been internationally certified as having a Quality By-Name List as part of their goal to reach ‘functional zero’ street homelessness in Brisbane by the end of 2023.
The certification from US-based organisation Community Solutions means that BAEH’s Brisbane Zero project has a highly accurate, real-time list of all the people sleeping rough on Brisbane’s streets providing a means of assessing what type of housing or support intervention each person in a community needs to exit homelessness permanently.
CEO of Micah Projects Karyn Walsh said that data is key to not just managing, but ending homelessness in Brisbane as it informs the investment we need to make to ensure the most vulnerable citizens can access housing, healthcare and services as a matter of human rights.
“Reaching housing targets is an important start, but with an increasing homeless population we must implore a more pragmatic approach to the issue. That’s why we are implementing a zero approach to homelessness to ensure that people do not end back on the streets and that any experience of homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring,” Ms Walsh said.
“Having access to real-time data is essential to addressing and solving the problem. Our By-Name List of everyone experiencing rough sleeping, transient accommodation, in cars and motels is critical for post COVID-19 recovery.”
“In Brisbane, with investment and commitment, we ended rough sleeping by accommodating people in hotels during this pandemic. Our concern is that once supports come to end over the coming months, we will see a rise in people entering the homelessness cycle. We need to track how many people return to rough sleeping and ensure it is rare, brief and non-reoccurring.”
With the support of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH), Brisbane is the second city outside of North America to officially be deemed to have a Quality By-Name List. The other being Adelaide for the Adelaide Zero Project.
“Communities in the Built for Zero movement understand that you cannot solve a problem you cannot see,” Portfolio Director for Built for Zero, Leslie Wise said.
“But by achieving our standard for quality data, Brisbane has built a system that knows every person experiencing homelessness by name, in real time — a critical feature of any community built to continuously end rough sleeping. We are proud to announce that Brisbane has become just the second community outside of North America to reach this critical milestone, and we look forward to continuing to support its efforts to drive to zero homelessness.”
AAEH chief executive David Pearson said:
“The collaboration we are seeing in Australia to end homelessness is extraordinary. The Quality By-Name List recognition shows that Brisbane is taking a leading role in working collectively to end homelessness – uniting the health, housing, social services and government sectors.”
The Role of Governments
Asked what role Governments should play in achieving ‘functional zero’ street homelessness by 2023, Ms Walsh told the Westender:
“At the moment the Queensland Government through the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Inclusion is working together with the Brisbane Zero Service Coordination Group for the matching of individuals or families to any vacancy. We believe we have to do more in developing a Housing First Framework which looks at specific strategies to prevent, reduce and end homelessness so that homelessness is a rare, brief and non- reoccurring event rather than a lifestyle that people are trapped in. This requires more urgent planning to inform new investment so that we can create innovations in housing and scale up supportive housing for those who need it.”
“BAEH expects that all levels of government work together to address the calls from all advocates across business, community services and academics who clearly state the benefits of social housing as an economic stimulus in recovery from COVID.”
“Members of the Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness such as Micah Projects and Communify are calling for dedicated investment to be assigned to supportive housing within a wider social housing investment. Investment in Housing and Homelessness Services is critical to ensuring Recovery for All.”
“Homelessness is a solvable problem, and we all need to work together to create and scale up the solutions that are working across Australia and internationally,” Ms Walsh said.
About Micah Projects and Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness
Micah Projects is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing services and opportunities in the community to create justice and respond to injustice. They support and give a voice to people experiencing adversity due to poverty, homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence, disability and all forms of discrimination: https://micahprojects.org.au/
About Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness
The Brisbane Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH) is a community-based consortium aimed at building public support to end homelessness. The alliance’s main project, Brisbane Zero, embraces the Functional Zero approach to ending homelessness and aims to bring together community organisations, governments, and healthcare providers to better address ongoing homelessness. The project is designed to ensure a collective impact which will see homelessness becoming a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.
The project has four key focuses:
- Establishing a quality By-Name List to provide real time visibility on the homeless community.
The alliance works with local communities to collect and track quality data to evaluate the progress of the project and to help build a by-name list of those experiencing homelessness. By identifying and understanding who is rough sleeping within the local neighbourhood, communities are able to provide more appropriate and effective resources and ongoing support systems.
2. Advocating for an increased supply of affordable (and permanent) housing
Through ongoing advocacy, the project aims to increase the supply of affordable, permanent housing options within the wider Brisbane community. Adequate supply of affordable housing is key to ensuring that more people have access to a home and can receive the ongoing support needed to sustain their tenancy.
3. Providing ongoing housing and support to those who it most
Ongoing support is essential to ensuring that homelessness is a brief and non-reoccurring experience. By providing consistent and ongoing support, those needing assistance can receive adequate healthcare, mental health support, and services to improve their overall quality of life.
4. Connecting people, health care services and community
Finally the project aims to bring together community organisations, health-care services, and the wider community to collaboratively address homelessness.
Led by Micah Projects, the BAEH consists of: Anglicare Southern Queensland Homelessness Services Women and Families, BABI Youth & Family Service, Brisbane City Council, Brisbane South PHN, Brisbane Youth Service, Centacare, CheckUP, Common Ground Queensland, Community Living Association, Department of Housing and Public Works – Housing Homelessness and Sport, Dr Cameron Parsell – Australian Research Council DECRA Senior Research Fellow, Encircle, Footprints in Brisbane, Inala Youth Service, Kyabra Community Association, LawRight, North West Youth Accommodation Service, Ozcare, Queensland Council of Social Services, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Youth Housing Coalition, Salvation Army, Silky Oaks Children’s Haven, Social Scaffolding, Southside Community Care, Youth Advocacy Centre, Youth Housing Project.
The BAEH launched the Brisbane Zero Campaign which seeks to end rough sleeping in Brisbane in three years and that any experience of homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring: https://www.brisbanezero.org.au/