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The key to ending homelessness is prevention, early intervention and a rapid response, using evidence of what works.  In WA, we are lucky to have a strong foundation of evidence as well as proactive and ambitious strategies on ending homelessness.

We now need to take a whole of community approach, so everyone does their part to make homelessness a thing of the past.


All Paths Lead to Home: Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020-2030 (the WA Strategy) was developed by the Western Australian Government in close consultation with people working in the homelessness sector and people with lived experience of homelessness.  The strategy is WA’s first ever homelessness strategy and it sets out priority outcomes and approaches grounded in evidence of what works to end homelessness in WA.

The WA Strategy identifies four main outcomes between 2020-2030:

  1. Improving Aboriginal wellbeing
  2. Providing safe, secure and stable homes
  3. Preventing homelessness
  4. Strengthening and coordinating our responses and impact

The strategy will be rolled out over the next ten years according to two Action Plans.  The First Action Plan is currently in operation and runs from 2020-2025.  The first Action Plan focuses on:

  1. Ending rough sleeping
  2. Building a no wrong door system
  3. Ensuring low barrier crisis responses
  4. Innovation

The WA Strategy identifies a number of priority areas that we can focus on to achieve these outcomes:

1. Housing First

For people with complex needs or who experience recurring homelessness, there is a lot of evidence proving the benefits of adopting a “Housing First” approach to end homelessness.  This method has been integrated into many of the WA strategies to end homelessness.

Housing First is an international model for housing and supporting people who have experienced long term and recurring homelessness and who face a range of complex challenges.  Taking a housing first approach involves providing long-term, permanent housing upfront and without conditions, while also providing individualised, recovery-focused wrap around support services for those who need it.

This is different to other models which use a stairway approach, placing people into various stages of temporary accommodation and supports with permanent housing not available until the end of the process.

2. No Wrong Door Approach

Adopting a No Wrong Door Approach ensures that people experiencing or at risk of homelessness can get help to find appropriate long terms housing and support, regardless of which service or agency they connect with.

3. Whole-of-community approach

Ending homelessness involves collaborating with all levels of Government, people with lived experience, the community services sector, the private sector and members of community.  Using a whole-of-community approach ensures better design and more appropriate and flexible housing options and services capable of responding to the diverse needs of vulnerable people in the community.

4. Place-based Responses

WA is a large and diverse state. Homelessness looks very different across WA and between metropolitan, regional and remote areas.  As such, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to homelessness in WA. This is why place-based responses informed by local needs, context and capacity are so important. Enhancing the role and capacity for regional and local decision making is important to help make sure the right responses are delivered in the right places.

5. Ending rough sleeping

Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in WA so one of the first goals of the WA Strategy is to end rough sleeping.

The WA Strategy also sets out key stakeholders involved in implementing solutions to end homelessness.  This includes:

  1. People with Lived Experience
  2. Community Services Sector
  3. Local Government
  4. State Government
  5. Commonwealth Government
  6. Community and Volunteers
  7. Private business and philanthropy


The Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) is a group of organisations that have come together to end homelessness in WA. The Alliance’s 10-year strategy provides a framework to inform the process for ending homelessness, and sets out signposts to track progress and action.

The Alliance’s strategy sets out nine targets to hit before 2028:

  1. WA will have ended all forms of chronic homelessness including chronic rough sleeping
  2. No individual or family in WA will sleep rough or stay in supported accommodation for longer than five nights before moving into an affordable, safe, decent, permanent homes with the support required to sustain it.
  3. The WA rate of homelessness will have been halved from 2016.
  4. Underlying causes of homelessness have been met head on, resulting in a reduction by more than half in the inflow of people and families into homelessness in any one year.
  5. The gap between the rate of Aboriginal homelessness and non-Aboriginal homelessness in WA will be eliminated so that the rate of Aboriginal homelessness is no higher than the rate of non-Aboriginal homelessness
  6. Those experiencing homelessness and those exiting homelessness with physical health, mental health, and alcohol and other drug use dependence needs will have their needs addressed. This will result in a halving of mortality rates among those who have experienced homelessness and a halving in public hospital costs one year on for those exiting homelessness.
  7. Those experiencing homelessness and those exiting homelessness will be supported to strengthen their economic, social, family and community connections leading to stronger wellbeing and quality of life outcomes. Employment among those experiencing homelessness will be significantly increased. Over half of those exiting homelessness will be employed within three years of moving into housing. Wellbeing and quality of life will equal those of the general population in the same timeframe.
  8. A strong, collaborative and adaptive network of services and responses across the community services, health, mental health, justice, and education sectors will exist working collectively to address the underlying causes of homelessness and meeting the needs of those who become homeless.
  9. Measurement, accountability and governance mechanisms that are robust, transparent and open to external review will be operating, providing an on-going means for assessing progress in meeting the goals of Ending Homelessness in Western Australia in 10 years.

About the Advance to Zero Campaign

The Advance to Zero (AtoZ) Campaign is a national initiative of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (AAEH) that supports local collaborative efforts to end homelessness, starting with rough sleeping – one community at a time.

Using a range of proven approaches from around the world, communities are supported not just to address individual instances of homelessness, or even reduce overall homelessness, but to end it altogether. We define an end to homelessness as being rare, brief and once-off.

Underpinned by a Housing First approach, the AtoZ Campaign uses a combination of near real-time data collected through by-name lists and service coordination to form a picture of the names and needs of people experiencing homelessness in particular communities.

Each AtoZ community aims to reach a milestone called ‘functional zero’, which is achieved when a community can demonstrate that their system is routinely housing more people than are coming into it.

Learn more here.

Advance to Zero in WA

In late 2022, the WA State Government announced funding for the by-name list and support for the Housing First Homelessness Initiative, which has been called the WA Advance to Zero. In Western Australia, there are currently five communities participating in the AtoZ Campaign. These are Bunbury, Mandurah, Rockingham, Perth and Geraldton.

The Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness provides ‘backbone support’ for these communities and plays a coordination role for this collective impact project in WA.

More information can be found on the WA Alliance to End Homelessness’ website.

Key strategies and resources on ending homelessness in WA

Core strategies on ending homelessness in WA include:

Core sources of evidence on homelessness in WA include:

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