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Urban Indigenous homelessness: much more than housing

By 10/08/2022November 21st, 2022No Comments

AHURI has released their latest report into Indigenous homelessness. Key points that have come from this report are:

  • Australia-wide, one in 28 Indigenous people were homeless at the time of the 2016 Census.
  • The Indigenous homelessness rate is 10 times that of non-Indigenous people (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS] 2019; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW] 2019a).
  • The Indigenous population in Australia is expected to grow to around 1,060,000 by 2031. Housing policy frameworks and investment must account for this growth in population.
  • A continuity of dispossession, racism, profound economic disadvantage and cultural oppression shapes the lived experience of many Indigenous Australians today.
  • Indigenous homelessness is culturally distinct. The drivers of Indigenous homelessness and the entry and exit points to accessing servicesare different. The notion of ‘home’ and ‘homelessness’ are culturally
    mediated terms.
  • There is a lack of dedicated services for Indigenous Australians experiencing homelessness in urban areas, despite their acute over-representation. This combines with other systemic barriers to explain their acute overrepresentation among specialist homelessness services.
  • Indigenous-led services need to be supported and enabled to work more closely with housing and homelessness organisations.
  • There is a policy tension between prioritisation of adequate supply of housing and the services and supports needed to assist people retain housing.
  • Family violence, community dislocation and economic pressures combine to escalate issues of sleeping rough, overcrowding and intermittent or cyclical homelessness.
  • Wraparound trauma-informed holistic support is needed for up to a year for Indigenous women and children impacted by family violence.
  • The over-representation of Indigenous people in Australian prisons increases the risk of homelessness post-release. Indigenous people transitioning out of prison need secure and culturally safe accommodation support, as well as wraparound services that provide pathways out of vulnerability and risk.
  • A strengths-based approach focusing on the interplay between Indigenous-controlled support services and homelessness support can generate more holistic and culturally safe responses.
  • Indigenous-led responses to urban Indigenous homelessness are
    culturally appropriate and thus likely to be more impactful and lasting.

The report can be accessed here