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What can one person do to end homelessness?

It may surprise you that there’s a lot we can each do – in the moment if we see someone experiencing homelessness, to spark change in our communities, and to be part of systems change that ends homelessness for good. Take a look at these practical actions you can take today.


The Melbourne Zero campaign is a catalyst for change. It seeks to build a movement of Melburnians, like you, who know we should and can end homelessness in our city. We’re all about enabling people, business and organisations to voice their support and take practical actions to help end homelessness in our city – starting with ending rough sleeping by 2030.  

We’re proudly Melbourne and focused on solutions. We share real, local progress toward ending homelessness, lived experience stories and insights to deepen public understanding, and opportunities for each of us to personally make a difference.   

While homelessness is experienced in many ways, we’re starting with ending street homelessness (also known as rough sleeping) because it’s the most traumatic, dangerous and isolating form of homelessness. And we know this can be achieved across Melbourne by 2030. Some LGA’s in Melbourne are close already! 

We want YOU to be part of the Melbourne Zero movement. Take action today.  

The Melbourne Zero Network is an alliance of diverse Melbourne-based businesses, brands, organisations and community groups publicly calling for change and taking practical actions to make zero homelessness a reality in our city.  

Melbourne can be a world-leading city in ending homelessness, but no single person, organisation, or sector can make this happen. It needs meaningful partnerships and new voices to generate the community belief and desire for Melbourne to be a world class, livable city for everyone.   

The Melbourne Zero Network is shining a light on our homelessness crisis while demonstrating there’s broad support for public and policy change. Melbourne Zero needs partners with energy and whatever resources they can muster or have mastery over.   

Launch Housing is powering the Melbourne Zero Network and will continue to grow this over the coming months, bringing members together to collaborate, share and co-design solutions to end homelessness in our city.  

We'll be in touch via email. At the start of each month, we'll send you an email update with highlights on the progress of the Movement to end homelessness in Melbourne, voices of lived experience, 'big thinker' perspectives, stories of change in local communities, actions by businesses and organisations that are part of the Network, and actions you personally can take to make a difference. 

Keep an eye on your inbox - and follow the Melbourne Zero social media channels, too! 

Good question. The short answer is our actions and words have great power.  

It seems we’ve begun to assume homelessness is inevitable. It’s not. For too long we’ve collectively walked past this issue. The reasons why are complex, including we often don’t know what to do in the moment, we think there’s nothing we can personally do to end homelessness, and we misunderstand how/who/what homelessness actually is. There’s lots of stigma and this can stop us from creating change.    

We need our community to know that solutions to homelessness already exist, that homelessness is cheaper to solve than let continue, and there’s examples of significant change happening today in Melbourne.   

We need people to know that when we talk about the issue of homelessness – at the kitchen table, at work, at school, with friends, online, in the media – it raises the profile of this often ‘hidden’ issue, builds our collective understanding and shows there’s a supportive community movement to end homelessness in our city. Building empathy is foundational for lasting systemic change to end homelessness. We’re proudly part of our Melbourne community, and change starts with each of us.

We’re always on until we reach zero homelessness in Melbourne, starting with ending rough sleeping by 2030. When this is achieved we’ll shift focus towards ending other forms of homelessness.   

Take action today - let’s do this together.  

Awesome. We’re looking for people LIKE YOU to take Melbourne Zero to the next level in 2024. If you are interested in mobilising a group of like-minded souls, keen to take positive action to end rough sleeping and homelessness in your local area, please get in touch today – we can’t wait to hear from you.  

Head over to our Take Action page for practicalideas to get you started. 

If you'd like digital posters to print and display, content for your social media, or stickers to distribute to your staff and customers, email us at [email protected].


Find out what your local council is doing to increase affordable housing and end homelessness. Seek out a council contact in the areas of Community Development/ Partnerships/ Wellbeing/ Safety, Municipal Recovery, Social Strategy or Social and Affordable Housing.  
Emailing them is a great first step to show local community interest and support while being looped into changes near you.   

Here's a few questions to help kick off your inquiries:  

  • What are council’s plans to increase affordable housing and end homelessness?How is this coordinated with others inc nearby councils? 
  •  Will the number of people sleeping rough in our LGA be housed by the new social housing coming to our area through Victoria’s ‘Big Build’? If not, what else is council doing to ensure people sleeping rough in our LGA can move rapidly into long term housing?   
  • What is council doing to de-stigmatise social housing, especially public housing?  
  • How can I  and other residents help with the above? 


And don’t forget if they’re doing a great job, let them know!  


If you are from a Melbourne council and would like to know more about the Advance to Zero / Functional Zero methodology, email us at [email protected].

Lots of things! Head over to our Take Action page. No matter where you live, these are powerful ways to start helping to end homelessness today in your area.  


Yes, the Melbourne Zero campaign is part of the Zero movement in Australia (also called ‘Advance to Zero’) and internationally. The Melbourne Zero campaign is powered by Launch Housing, an independent Melbourne based community organisation passionately committed to ending homelessness in Melbourne.   

Launch Housing is a founding partner of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH), an independent organisation championing the prevention of and end to homelessness in Australia. In Melbourne, Launch Housing implements AAEH’s ‘Advance to Zero’ initiative in local government areas as part of this national network of communities and organisations committed to ending all homelessness, starting with rough sleeping.   


‘Advance to Zero’ is a measurable milestone that, when sustained, indicates a community has zero homelessness.  Lets pause on that for a moment.  There will always be factors that tip people into homelessness, but if we can make that rare, brief and non-recurring, then we’ll avoid all the trauma and pain that comes from a longer term of homelessness.  That means moving people into appropriate housing faster than those who become homeless.  And that’s achieved by knowing – by name – everyone who becomes homeless and bringing together all the services they need to get them housed.   

That’s a lot of detail.  ‘Melbourne Zero’ is the front end of that.  It’s the community campaign and Network powered by Launch Housing to build a movement of Melburnians like you who know we should and can end homelessness in our city. We’re all about enabling people, business and organisations to voice their support and take practical actions to help end homelessness in our city, starting with ending rough sleeping by 2030.  

Launch Housing is powering the Melbourne Zero campaign.   

Launch Housing is an independent Melbourne-based community organisation passionately committed to ending homelessness. From providing high-quality housing and an innovative range of support, education and employment services, the organisation brings solutions to homelessness under one roof for thousands at risk of or experiencing the crisis and trauma of homelessness. With over 450 staff working across 15 locations in metropolitan Melbourne, Launch Housing combines direct action with advocacy, research and innovation to drive widespread change. The organisation believes housing is a basic human right that affords people with dignity and wants to create lasting societal change to help people most in need in our community.  

Launch Housing believes Melbourne can be a world-leading city in ending homelessness.    

Homelessness can be defined in many ways – and includes people who are rough sleeping (street homelessness), sleeping in cars, on couches, in overcrowded, crisis and temporary housing. At its core it’s a lack of suitable permanent accommodation.  

Having a home is a basic human right that affords people dignity. Only more homes and tailored support can end homelessness.  

Over 30,000 Victorians don’t have anywhere to call home on any given night. Another estimated 350,000 are at risk of becoming homeless, struggling to keep a roof over their head. Cost of living pressures and lack of housing supply mean these numbers are likely to continue to climb.  

The top two reasons that people seek homelessness assistance in Victoria are family and domestic violence and financial difficulties. More than one in five people supported by Victorian homelessness services in are children under the age of 18.  Indigenous Australians are over seven times more likely to experience homelessness; while older women are the fastest growing homelessness cohort.  

We need to take action today. 

Rough sleeping (street homelessness) is the most visible and severe form of homelessness. It’s a health emergency. People who sleep rough are likely to die 30 years earlier than those with stable housing, often as a result of preventable illnesses.  

Although a small proportion of overall homelessness in Melbourne, people sleeping rough in our city are among the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our community. The trauma of street homelessness - including heightened risk of adverse health issues, violence and disempowerment - creates barriers that prevent them from accessing the housing, healthcare and support they need to turn life around. People cycle through crisis accommodation and hospital emergency departments, and services are overwhelmed. The trauma of rough sleeping often creates new problems, that more housing alone can't solve.  

This is why the Melbourne Zero campaign is sharing actions you can take today to help end homelessness in Melbourne. And it’s why we’re calling for healthcare and wrap-around services to ensure vulnerable people get the support they need to heal, recover and get their life on track, permanently.   

Take action today.  

No one chooses homelessness. It’s a circumstance people are pushed into, through an ever-decreasing lack of options.  

No one chooses to have ongoing limited access to safe sleeping arrangements, privacy, storage for their belongings, fresh food, bathroom facilities, and protection from the elements. No one chooses to have increased exposure to judgement, and increased risk of violence, adverse health and wellbeing.    

A ‘housing first’ model that meets people where they’re at - including supporting people who have experienced complex challenges to access and retain appropriate permanent housing – is crucial to achieving zero homelessness for our most vulnerable community members. 

Zero homelessness (also known as ‘functional zero’) is achieved when all experiences of homelessness in a community are rare, brief and non-recurring; and this is sustained over time. Zero homelessness can only be reachedwhen there’s enough appropriate housing and support for people entering homelessness to rapidly move into and live in permanently.

If you’re comfortable and it feels suitable, you can engage with someone by having a conversation. Connection and communication are incredibly important for people who may feel otherwise outcast from the community. Many people experiencing homelessness feel invisible. Just a quick ‘hi’ can start to change someone’s day. Do keep in mind personal space and the person’s willingness to engage, and ensure you respect boundaries. Avoid taking photos or recordings of the person and ensure you maintain your own privacy.   

If someone is sleeping rough in the areas of Stonnington, Port Phillip, Frankston, Dandenong and City of Melbourne you can call the Rough Sleeper’s Initiative on (03) 8598 1170.  

If they are in the areas of Yarra, Merri-bek or Darebin you can contact the Assertive Outreach team at Launch Housing Collingwood on (03) 9288 9611.  

In other areas, you can find out who the local housing access point is by calling Opening Doors on 1800 825 555. This is a free call number that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your call will be answered by a worker who can put you in touch with an organisation closest to you.  

Importantly, if the person requires emergency medical attention please call an ambulance. 

Find out more about what you can do in the moment to help someone rough sleeping.   

Add your voice today

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.