Zero Project WA By-Name-List achieves Quality Data Status and establishes Outreach Protocols

In May 2021 Community Solutions (architects of the Built for Zero methodology) and the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness confirmed that Zero Project WA’s By-Name-List for Perth, Fremantle and Surrounds had achieved Quality Data Status based on their data collection requirements for new communities joining the Advance to Zero movement.

Zero Project WA’s Manager Michala McMahon with Community Solutions’ Quality Data Scroll

By-Name Lists are collaborative tools that enable organisations across the sector to collaboratively track and quantify the inflow and outflow of homelessness, so local communities have access to a real time picture of how services are working and can use that information to drive evidence-based improvements to help reduce rough sleeping and chronic homelessness.

This important first milestone in achieving quantitative reliability requires the submission of four months of data specific to a population (rough sleeping / chronic homeless) wherein the change in actual active homelessness between the most recent month and three months prior to the most recent month is less than 15% different from the expected change in homelessness over the same period, calculated by summing the inflow and outflow measures reported.

This achievement has also been dependent on the successful development of five service system protocols and incorporating the By Name List into daily practice for participating organisations. This enables a consistent approach for workers and outreach teams to respond to the needs of rough sleepers and/or people experiencing chronic homelessness, link them to other specialist services and add them to the By-Name-List. Outreach works have a key role to make sure people who have returned to homelessness or become rough sleepers are known, counted and planned for.

Improvement Team meeting


Reaching and maintaining quality data (to assist with ending homelessness in our community) wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and commitment of frontline workers and the Improvement Team members.

Together we can achieve great things!

The Zero Project Team




Where it all began…

Connections Week

Connections Week is a well-established, place-based process to understand who is experiencing homelessness and the need for support and housing. The aim is to identify the most vulnerable people to drive collaborative work to meet these needs. From a State and local government perspective, Connections Week, as opposed to a simple street count, provides a strong evidence base to end homelessness within a community.

During Connections Week, teams of trained volunteers hit the streets in the early hours of the morning and survey (using the VI-SPDAT tool) people found rough sleeping in the community. A launch event is held to present the results of the surveys to key stakeholders to demonstrate what is happening in the community and kickstarts the collaborative work to proactively meet these needs of vulnerable people.

Late in 2020 and earlier this year, Bunbury, Geraldton, Mandurah and Rockingham were selected for Connections Week events as they were identified as the communities that would receive additional resources through the State Government’s Housing First Homelessness Initiative (HFHI). Ruah Community Services received funding from Lotterywest to support local agencies to conduct Connections Week, providing baseline data on local homelessness and building on interagency collaboration.

Zero Project has been funded under the HFHI to undertake a systems coordination role to support communities to address rough sleeping and chronic homelessness.

The completed surveys were used to start a By Name List in each of these communities. Following Connections Week, the Zero Project and local services have continued
the work through:

  • Local service providers participated in an action lab to learn about the Advance to Zero methodology used to end rough sleeping and chronic homelessness in other communities Internationally (the By Name List is the key tool used in this approach).
  • Local services were trained and continue to add people to the By Name List as they are newly identified as homeless, providing month-by-month updates on their progress to reducing rough sleeping and chronic homelessness.
  • Local services also participated in local workshops to establish their shared community goal and commence their interagency working groups, using the By Name List to collaboratively allocate housing and support.

Once the local By Name List has reached data quality standards (i.e. has full coverage of people experiencing homelessness through service updating), it will be used to understand the local service system and identify local improvement projects to further reduce rough sleeping and chronic homelessness. These communities are on track to reaching ‘quality data’ by the end of the 2021.

Connections Week 2021 has been postponed until early 2022.  Watch this space for information about registering your interest to volunteer at this important event which will run over multiple suburbs. 

Please contact Teale Merritt, Project Development Lead at Ruah Community Services for any Connection Week queries –

Check back soon for our next update.

The Zero Project Team