As part of Homelessness Week from August 2 to 8, Brisbane web design and development house Zeroseven took part in the Hackathon for Homelessness, volunteering their time to build a website for the Brisbane Zero campaign.

Led by Micah Projects, the Brisbane Zero campaign includes a collective of agencies and communities that aim to reach the goal of ‘functional zero’ street homelessness in Brisbane by 2023. The timing of this website coincided with a huge achievement for Brisbane Zero, who received certification from US-based organisation Community Solutions, for their ‘By-Name List’, a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness in the community. This certification means that the data captured from all persons experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough in the streets of Brisbane is of quality.

“Having access to real-time data is essential to addressing the problem,” said Karyn Walsh, CEO of Micah Projects. “We usually rely on census data, which is four years old. But people are dying on the streets – so in 2010 we started looking at how we can use more sophisticated data analysis to try and solve the problem. People become trapped in homelessness for many years. For us, getting to zero means that homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring. This website is such a great gift to us, because it combines the data with communication to help spread awareness. This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”

At the end of July, there were 1432 individuals and 250 families known to be experiencing homelessness in Brisbane, and working with Brisbane Zero participating services. The Zeroseven team needed to build a website that not only showcased this data, but also provided an easy way to match those in need to the housing support and services available. Karyn said this function became especially important during COVID-19, due to uncertainty in the community that these services were open and functioning.

After two full days of development and further functionality testing, the Brisbane Zero website officially launched on ?12 August. Chris Thompson, Technical Lead and Managing Director of Zeroseven, said the hackathon demonstrated that when project teams come together and work towards a mutual goal, great milestones can be achieved in a short amount of time.

“It was great to see the whole company coming together to achieve a huge project, one that really makes a difference,” Chris said. Karyn said the Brisbane Zero team were “thrilled” with the website. “It looks fantastic,” she said. “Thank you all for your enormous support and generous contribution.”

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