Impact Measure 2 – Analysis

Nobody experiencing homelessness should have to sleep rough. The longer someone experiences rough sleeping, the more challenges they have to manage, and the harder it is for them to find and keep appropriate housing. Our client-centred programs like Functional Zero and Homelessness to a Home are working with people with a long history of rough sleeping to find good housing outcomes for them that are connected to ongoing support.

70

People housed in the City of Melbourne, 12.5% of the total By Name List 

33

People housed in the City of Port Phillip, 19% of the total By Name List

15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing homelessness in the City of Port Phillip, the lowest number since the started By Name List started  

 Our work contributes to the SDGs

Sustainable Development Goal 1 - No Poverty
Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Gender Equality
Sustainable Development Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities
Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Rough sleeping is the most extreme form of homelessness. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020-2021 data, around 6,500 people were experiencing rough sleeping in Victoria, but only about 800 people, or 12.6%, exited to some form of secure housing.  

At Launch Housing, we have worked with people sleeping rough for over forty years. Over time, we have piloted different programs to see what works and we have learned what individuals need. Our innovative approach means our housing rates have met or improved on the state average. 

We know that people experiencing rough sleeping require help that suits their individual needs. Our Functional Zero Projects build a By-Name-List (BNL) that acknowledges every single person sleeping rough in a specific area.  

Complementing this is the Victorian Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program that finds stable, long-term housing and offers health support that works for each person.   

Through these programs we work closely with people currently sleeping rough to find housing and support. And in future, we can help people avoid the experience of rough sleeping through provision of safe emergency accommodation and quick transfers to long term housing.  

Together, these programs will improve and ultimately end street homelessness. 

Our Functional Zero Projects

Our Functional Zero Projects take a place-based collective impact approach to reduce the numbers of people experiencing rough sleeping by connecting with and getting to know every individual and adding them to the local BNL to provide a more focused and client-centred service response. Most of our Functional Zero clients have experienced chronic homelessness for an average of eight to fifteen years. 

Functional Zero projects are locally focused and underpinned by a strong network of local service providers who work together and share data to provide a truly client-centred approach and to help build trust with clients who have often been moved from service to service over their many years of homelessness.  

The design of Functional Zero means that we know everyone by name, understand their needs, and can provide an integrated service response. We can then genuinely work with them to help them find and sustain housing.  

Functional Zero Projects operate in the Cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Frankston, Stonnington and Dandenong.  

City of Melbourne  

There has been an increase in the number of people added to the City of Melbourne BNL this year from 181 people to 253 people. Data from the BNL suggest that of the 558 people on the list, 12.5% successfully moved into housing. This outcome is an improvement from last year.  

City of Port Phillip  

There has also been an increase in the number of people added to the City of Port Phillip BNL this year, going from 36 people to 66 people. Out of the 173 on the list, 33 clients (19%) were housed this year and from those, 42% were housed via our H2H program.  

Housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Port Phillip are of great significance. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still actively homeless has fallen to 15, the lowest number since the Port Phillip BNL began in July 2019.  

Of the 15 people, only three are currently experiencing rough sleeping, with five people in transitional or head lease housing, and five people connected to the H2H program.  

Prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and consistently working as a coordinated service system to achieve positive housing outcomes for this community has made a big difference in the City of Port Phillip. 

The City of Frankston  

The City of Frankston Zero project commenced in July 2021 and has had 131 people on the BNL since its inception. In Frankston, 17 BNL clients, or 13%, were successfully housed in the first year of the Zero project with 33% of those clients housed through our H2H program.

City of Stonnington  

City of Stonnington Zero was re-funded for another year up until June 2023. Since January 2022, 18 people were on the BNL and 17% of those clients were housed.  

Overall observations 

There have been difficulties finding housing for people on the BNL across all four local government areas due to shortages of suitable housing and an increase in Victorian Housing Register applications across the state, increasing the waiting list for public housing.  

In particular, the lack of all types of housing options in Dandenong and Frankston continues to be a challenge.  

Even with these overall housing shortages, the program delivered significant outcomes for people across the four cities. In the cities of Port Phillip and Frankston, having access to H2H has helped provide good housing outcomes for 30-40% of their BNL clients.  

There is also emerging evidence that monthly numbers of people sleeping rough in Port Phillip and Frankston have gone down with rates remaining lower than pre-pandemic.  

In the City of Port Phillip, 33 people were sleeping rough at the end of June 2022 compared to 64 people in 2019. In the City of Frankston, 21 people were sleeping rough at the end of June 2022 compared 65 people in June 2021.  

To fully understand the extent of these trends, we will continue to build additional years’ data and dive deeper into each Functional Zero Project context. 

The collective impact in this project could not be achieved without a huge range of active and committed partners. Our partners include the four local councils who have provided financial and in-kind support, local service providers, community housing providers, regional networks, and the many partnerships we have with philanthropy and donors.

As an entirely philanthropic and local government funded program, the Functional Zero project is made possible through the generosity of: 

  • Estate of the late Ernest Lonsdale Brown 
  • Fred J Cato Charitable Fund  
  • Miss M K A Bell Memorial Fund  
  • Oliver-Affleck Fund 
  • Percy Baxter Charitable Trust 
  • Ross Trust 
  • The Blueshore Charitable Trust, managed by Australian Philanthropic Services 
  • The Bowden Marstan Foundation 
  • The Hutchins Family Endowment 
  • The John Robertson Grigor & Mrs Eva McKenzie Bequest Account Discretionary Trust 
  • The White Family Endowment 
  • Zig Inge Foundation 

Homelessness to a Home

The Victorian Government’s Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program has had a significant positive impact on people with chronic experiences of rough sleeping and homelessness and complex health needs.  

H2H prioritises helping people with complex needs to move from hotels into more long-term housing. Being in hotels is a short-term measure that helps alleviate the immediate crisis situation many clients face, avoid extended rough sleeping, and start the provision of support services while appropriate housing is found. 

H2H has been a huge and much appreciated step forward in homelessness services, allowing us to see the real-life impact of providing housing and support at a large scale. The program has also enabled the sector to develop a large-scale evidence-base for what type of housing and support services work best for people with complex needs. 

The people we supported this year  

The Launch Housing consortia made up of Launch Housing, MIND, Uniting Vic Tas, VACSAL, Cohealth and Bolton Clarke worked with 25%, or 449 of the H2H participants. There are 382 clients who are still being supported to sustain housing 18 months after the program began. 

In addition to facing housing insecurity, our clients had complex health needs with rates of Alcohol and other drugs (AOD), mental health (MH) related issues and chronic illness much higher than anticipated. Of the 382 clients still receiving support: 

  • 84%, (320 people) have dual diagnosis of AOD and MH challenges that impact their life and housing;
  • 52% (199 people) have tri-morbidity of AOD, MH and a chronic illness, which is an indicator of early mortality;
  • Around 245 clients have a recent history of family violence;
  • 17% (64 people) identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 

Our multi-disciplinary approach supports individuals’ needs 

Housing outcomes for H2H clients have been reinforced by the initiative’s multi-disciplinary supports which meant that we could wrap tailored services around the person according to their needs. 

Of the 382 clients still being supported, 345 have secured housing. Prior to H2H, they had been without housing for 10 years, on average:

  • 141 clients have moved into public housing;
  • 35 clients are living in general lease properties which were spot purchased or leased by Homes Victoria and managed by Launch Housing;
  • 169 clients are living in head lease properties (Head Lease are privately owned properties where Launch Housing undertook the lease and then sub-leased to the client);
  • 37 clients are unhoused. 

A majority of our clients have maintained stable housing over the course of the program. These results demonstrate that creating stability for those who have been chronically homeless requires long- term, flexible and multi-disciplinary support that is attached to housing. Prior to this, our clients did not have access to private rentals and faced a waitlist of 64,000 people for public housing.  

Due to the limits of available social housing, there is uncertainty about transitions for clients, particularly those in head lease properties, when their lease expires. While there are several projects in the pipeline through the Big Build, most of these are still 12-18 months away, making head-leasing still the only real option for many of these clients, something that will be increasingly difficult in the tightening rental market. 

A small number of clients participating in the Homelessness to a Home program were generously supported by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to keep their housing when they were unable to continue paying rent due to participating in rehabilitation programs or similar. In normal circumstances, these people would have lost their housing, pushing them back into homelessness when they exited the program.  

Thanks to our partners

Logo for the Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust

A small number of clients participating in the Homelessness to a Home program were generously supported by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to keep their housing when they were unable to continue paying rent due to participating in rehabilitation programs or similar. In normal circumstances, these people would have lost their housing, pushing them back into homelessness when they exited the program.  

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