Connections Week – Neami plays key role in homelessness outreach as part of Adelaide Zero Project

Last week Adelaide homelessness services, staff and volunteers, including Neami’s Street to Home service, hit the pavement as part of Connections Week.

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Over three nights teams went out to connect with people sleeping rough in Adelaide and to add them to the “By Name List” – which aims to identify every rough sleeper in the CBD by name and better understand their needs. Neami is responsible for managing the data in this list. This data provides an accurate and detailed snapshot of the total rough sleeping population in the city, as well as information about related issues such as mental illness and physical health concerns.

Connections Week is part of the Don Dunstan Foundation’s Adelaide Zero Project, which aims to reduce street homelessness in the city to a functional zero by 2020, meaning that the number of people who are homeless on any given night is no greater than the monthly housing placement rate.

As part of the week Don Dunstan held a Community Briefing, where Neami Peer Support Workers, including Scott (pictured) shared how they draw on their lived experience of homelessness to mentor and engage with people sleeping rough. Scott recently featured in the Adelaide Advertiser.

Data from Connections Week identified an increase in the number of rough sleepers in the city, up to 227 from 143 at the same time last year. Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson said, “We now need to better understand why our data is indicating an upwards trend in people sleeping rough and if this increase is because more people are falling into street homelessness, or whether we are simply identifying more people through an improved measurement system.”

Neami’s Street to Home service sees workers undertake assertive outreach in the city, where they work to support people sleeping rough into secure housing while also coordinating with other services to support their health and wellbeing.

Read more about Connections Week, including statistics from this year’s event at the Don Dunstan website.