21 March 2019
A shortage in social housing is disproportionately affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are dramatically over-represented in homelessness statistics.
On this year’s National Close the Gap Day, Victoria’s peak body for homelessness, Council to Homeless Persons’ (CHP), and Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV), are calling on both State and Federal Governments to address this shortfall as a matter of urgency.
According to a CHP and AHV analysis of Australian Institute for Health and Welfare data, Indigenous Australians are six times more likely to experience homelessness.
In Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are ten times more likely to experience homelessness and experience homelessness eleven times the rate of Victoria overall, meaning they are 1000% over-represented.
“So many Australians are affected by the national shortfall in social housing, but none more so than First Nations people,” explained CHP acting CEO Kate Colvin.
“The provision of appropriate and accessible housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a basic human right and a fundamental step in improving their quality of life and life expectancy.”
In 2018, the 10th anniversary of the Closing the Gap Report, a Special Gathering of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders took place to coincide with the first Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting of the year. In a statement, The Special Gathering named housing as one of the areas of highest importance for setting additional future targets as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh.
This was adopted in the Closing the Gap Report 2019, which stated, “a child’s early learning abilities can be compromised by factors such as inter-generational trauma, family stress, unstable housing, violence, low parental education and unemployment.”
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, 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,” said Kate Colvin.
• 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.
• They’re 10 times more likely to experience homelessness, experience it at 11 times the Victorian rate, meaning they are 1,000% over-represented. 7 per cent of Indigenous Victorians in social housing were over-crowded. (ROGS)
• 65,184 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians sought help from a homelessness service in 2017-18. (AIHW SHSC)
• Last year 8 per cent (or 1 in 12) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experienced homelessness.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up 3.4 per cent of Australians, but 25.3 per cent of homelessness service users.
• This means that they are six times more likely to experience homelessness, experience homelessness at seven times the rate of Victoria overall, or are 600% over-represented.
• 12.1 per cent of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in social housing were over-crowded. (ROGS)
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