During Reconciliation Week 2019 we recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without a home in Victoria


30 May 2019

This year’s Reconciliation Week, is themed Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage, and Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) is calling on Victoria to urgently address the disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people facing homelessness.

A CHP analysis of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians are 10 times more likely to experience homelessness than are other Victorians.

In addition, 7 per cent of Indigenous Victorians in social housing experience over-crowding.

Reconciliation Australia describes National Reconciliation Week as a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

At CHP, we believe this includes moving to put in place real action that will result in improved outcomes for First People.

“It is our national shame that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are so much more likely to both experience and be at risk of homelessness, and we must address this as a matter of urgency” says CHP CEO Jenny Smith.

Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) is currently developing an Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework, seeking to improve housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians across their lives, and assist in building the capacity of Aboriginal organisations to own, manage and grow rental stock, and identify innovative models that secure housing for Aboriginal Victorians, including pathways to private ownership.

“We welcome this integral work by AHV, which aims to achieve real improvements in access to appropriate, affordable and accessible housing for First Nations peoples in Victoria,” says Ms Smith.

CHP board member and former CEO of Aboriginal Housing Victoria Jennifer Samms wrote in Parity: “We know that stable, safe and secure housing is the foundation for successful investments in education, training, employment, health, justice and family violence.”

Victoria Facts

  • 9,428 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians sought help from a homelessness service in 2017-18. (AIHW SHSC)
  • 57,767 Victorians are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ABS, 3238.0.55.001 – Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians)
  • Last year one in six Indigenous Victorians experienced homelessness.
  • Indigenous Australians are 0.9 per cent of Victorians, but 9.8 per cent of homelessness service users.