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City of Yarra

In July 2023, the City of Yarra and Launch Housing launched Yarra Zero.

The project takes a place-based collective impact approach to reduce the numbers of experiencing rough sleeping by connecting with and getting to know each person and adding them to the local ‘By Name List’ to enable a focused client-centred service response. Knowing everyone by name, understanding their needs and providing an integrated service response helps people find and sustain housing. The project is led by Yarra Council and Launch Housing who have brought together local system partners 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.

Local partners who have united to support this project including cohealth, St Mary’s House of Welcome, St Vincent’s Hospital, Ngwala Willumbong, The Salvation Army, North Richmond Community Health, Aboriginal Housing Victoria, and the Fitzroy Legal Service. Enabling partners include the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Victoria Police, and the Northern Homelessness Network.

Project goal

The goal of Yarra Zero is to achieve Functional Zero homelessness for people sleeping rough in the City of Yarra. Functional Zero homelessness will be reached when the number of people entering and experiencing rough sleeping homelessness within a month is less than the average monthly placement rate into long-term housing. Once achieved it must be sustained and any future experiences of rough sleeping homelessness in the City of Yarra are brief, rare and non-recurring. This will be because the housing and support resources required to end rough sleeping homelessness are efficiently coordinated and sufficient to meet the needs of all people who sleep and live in this local Government area.

How are we going?

Homelessness is ended when people move into safe, sustainable, long-term housing of their choice. This includes public or community housing or private rental that meets an acceptable minimum standard of a self-contained dwelling with its own kitchen and bathroom facilities. The person must have security of tenure evidenced by a signed tenancy agreement. Long-term housing includes aged care and may include long-term special residential services. In time the high-level outcomes that Yarra Zero and the coordinated service system it operates within will achieve will be shown below.


Sleeping rough and actively homeless

People are added onto the BNL when we meet them, and they are sleeping rough. This means that they are in an unsheltered living situation, in a car or staying in an abandoned building that we call a ‘squat’. When they are added they become active on the BNL. This chart will show the active number of people since the project started and how people who are connected to the project gradually move out of sleeping rough, which with time be picked up in the figure further below.

Actively homeless and changes in living situations

People don’t usually stay sleeping rough but move between different living situations as their circumstances change. The figure below shows this change over time as people become connected to the network of services that make up the project. The chart shows that some people move into safer forms of sheltered emergency accommodation such as hotels, motels, or specialist crisis accommodations, or into other forms of temporary housing including quality pathways out of homelessness such as Transitional (THM) or Head Lease housing. They also move into community rooming houses and other forms of living with others which may have greater security of tenure but remain forms of homelessness. These are not their final housing outcomes and for that reason people remain ‘active’ even though their living situations have improved significantly. People may live in these for several years before an offer of social housing is finally made.

A key reason people stay on the list and don't move into safe and secure homes, is that there simply aren't enough homes in Victoria that people on low incomes can afford. If 10 homes are available and 50 people need homes, 40 people are going to remain without a home, no matter how hard everyone tries to house them.



  • Yarra Zero is being delivered in partnership with:
  • Aboriginal Housing Victoria
  • Cohealth
  • Fitzroy Legal Service
  • North Richmond Community Health
  • Ngwala Willumbong
  • St Mary’s House of Welcome,
  • St Vincent’s Hospital

Enabling partners include the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Victoria Police, and the Northern Homelessness Network.

Functional Zero projects are made possible through the Victorian Government, local governments and the generous philanthropic support of:  

  • Collier Charitable Fund
  • Estate of the late Ernest Lonsdale Brown
  • Ethel Paxton Trust Fund
  • Fred J Cato Charitable Fund
  • Gandel Foundation
  • Miss M K A Bell Memorial Fund
  • Oliver-Affleck Fund
  • Percy Baxter Charitable Trust
  • Perpetual Foundation – The Hutchinson Endowment
  • Rowe Family Foundation
  • The Blueshore Charitable Trust, managed by Australian Philanthropic Services
  • The Bowden Marstan Foundation
  • The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
  • The John Robertson Grigor & Mrs Eva McKenzie Bequest Account Discretionary Trust
  • The Ross Trust
  • The William Angliss Charitable Fund
  • Zig Inge Foundation

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From business leaders to your next-door neighbours, we're calling on every Melburnian to join the Melbourne Zero movement and help end homelessness in our city.