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City of Port Phillip

Port Phillip Zero started in July 2019. The project takes a place-based collective impact approach to reduce the numbers of people 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.   

It was the first Zero project in Victoria and is led by the City of Port Phillip and Launch Housing who have brought together many partners from the local service system 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 - including Sacred Heart Mission, Better Health Network, Alfred Health, The Salvation Army, Ngwala Willumbong, First Steps, St Kilda Community Housing, Housing First, Southport Housing, St Kilda Community Centre and Wintringham to name a few. The project also has many enabling partners including the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Housing Victoria, Victoria Police and the Southern Homelessness Services Network.

The goal of Port Phillip Zero is to achieve Functional Zero homelessness for people sleeping rough in the City of Port Phillip by December 2024. 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 Port Phillip are brief, rare and non-reoccurring. 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.

Port Phillip Zero was the first Victorian project achieve quality By Name List (BNL) status in September 2020 and twelve months later it became the first Australian community to achieve a system shift, a measurable, meaningful reduction of 20% in rough sleeping homelessness, a key milestone on the path to reaching functional zero.

The City of Port Phillip has a long history of collaboration among its many providers with strong leadership provided by its council and on behalf of its local community, find out more about this work.

Council believes that everyone needs a home. Council has an enduring commitment to social justice and recognises homelessness, primarily a housing problem, as a priority. Affordable housing is an important element of our strategy to help those experiencing housing stress and who have no home. On any given night, around 25 people sleep on the streets, parks or foreshore in City of Port Phillip. There are many more sleeping on someone’s couch, in their cars, in crisis accommodation, rooming houses or overcrowded dwellings.

Housing secured and homelessness ended

Homelessness is ended when people move into safe, sustainable, long-term housing of their choice. This includes public or community housing, private rental or private ownership 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.

How are we going?

The latest data from each By-Name List (BNL) illustrates the scale of rough sleeping homelessness in the City of Port Phillip. It also shows how people’s circumstances change over time as they become connected to the network of services that make up each project. The data shows clearly the change in living situations that happens over time and the movement into different living situations as people travel on a pathway out of homelessness. Finally, we show the outcomes that Port Phillip Zero has achieved since it started.

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 shows the active number of people who have been identified and added to the Port Phillip Zero BNL since the project started July 2019 (the blue line) and how as people who are connected to the project gradually move out of sleeping rough reducing the overall number of people sleeping rough in the area (the red columns).

Actively homeless and changes in living situations

People don’t usually stay sleeping rough, but move between different living situations as their circumstances change.

This chart shows this change over time as people move into safer forms of sheltered emergency accommodation such as hotels, motels or specialist crisis accommodations, or into high quality temporary forms of housing such as Transitional (THM) or Head Lease housing as a pathway out of homelessness.

These are not the final housing outcomes and for that reason people remain ‘active’ even though their living situations have improved significantly. They are known as transitional forms of housing and people may live in them for several years before a final offer of social housing is made.

We would ideally only want people leaving the BNL because they've moved into a long-term, safe, and affordable home.

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.


Port Phillip Zero is being delivered in partnership with:

  • The Alfred Hospital
  • Better Health Network
  • City of Port Phillip
  • First Steps
  • Housing First
  • Launch Housing
  • Ngwala Willumbong
  • Sacred Heart Mission
  • The Salvation Army
  • Port Phillip Community Group
  • Southport Community Housing
  • St Kilda Community Housing
  • Wintringham
  • Enabling partners include the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing BPA, the Southern Homelessness Services Network and Victoria Police

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.