Work to be done to close Aboriginal housing gap

Aboriginal Victorians are missing out on the human right to adequate housing and on the long term social and economic benefits of home ownership more than any other group in Victoria.A desire to understand why this is the case, and how to change it, provided the impetus for the very successful Victorian Aboriginal Housing & Homelessness Summit held last week.

As convenor, Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) consulted with Aboriginal and mainstream services about the development of a housing and homelessness framework. The statistics painted a bleak picture with 18.4 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians receiving homeless services as compared to 1.8 per cent of all Victorians; only 43 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians are home owners compared to 68 per cent of the general population, and 1,438 new social housing is needed for Aboriginal people by 2021.

The impact of these statistics were intensified by the personal stories of racism and blatant discrimination suffered by so many of the delegates.

CHIA Vic looks forward to working with AHV and the Aboriginal co-ops to look at how we can support these small regional and rural organisations to operate successful housing programs with training in tenancy management and assistance to drive the costs down for tenants through energy efficiency measures.

Also, over the coming months we hope to undertake a project to improve Aboriginal people’s access to and outcomes in the community housing sector by embedding Aboriginal inclusion, accountability and monitoring in all aspects of community housing. The project will take a ‘rights based’ approach, which places Aboriginal Victorians and their communities firmly at the centre of community housing policies and practices.