On the 8th November the inaugural Metropolitan Aboriginal Housing Forum was held. This one-day community forum provided an opportunity to actively engage Aboriginal leaders in workshop discussions regarding the supply of safe, affordable and accessible housing for Aboriginal people in the metropolitan Perth area.
Housing has been articulated as a key concern in virtually all community consultations around the Noongar Native Title Settlement process and in a major research project being undertaken by the Telethon Kids Institute.
There has been considerable focus on housing for Aboriginal people living in remote areas. However over 70 per cent of Aboriginal in WA people live in non-remote areas. The focus on remote housing, whilst important, has diverted attention of governments and policy makers away from the housing needs and issues of Aboriginal people in non-remote WA.
The key objective explored was how to harness the current opportunity and people’s energy, concerns and experience to influence public policy around the supply of social and affordable housing for Aboriginal people in metropolitan Perth.
Key issues identified by the forum include:
• Lack of culturally appropriate housing policy
• Not enough affordable, suitable and culturally appropriate housing supply
• Housing quality and maintenance
• Maintaining and sustaining tenancies
• Lack of options for renting and purchasing
• Impact of ongoing, systemic policies on housing outcomes
Black Russian Productions and Dr. Glen Stasiuk compiled some amazing videos which highlight some of the major themes that arose from the forum.
How important housing is to the health of Indigenous people.
Home ownership and the building of an asset base.
The value of having a safe home.
Attendees ideas for fixing the housing problem.
• Shelter WA in partnership with Telethon Kids Institute to develop a working group with the Elders as a platform for an Aboriginal voice into Noongar housing policy and to develop an Aboriginal housing policy and framework to measure progress.
• Shelter WA to discuss with Noongar Mia Mia, the development of a Noongar Community Housing Strategy to build on the value proposition of Noongar managed housing, to address the lack of safe, secure and culturally appropriate housing supply and to capitalise on new opportunities.
• Shelter WA to develop, in partnership with Noongar Mia Mia, other agencies as appropriate and the Department of Communities, new models for affordable home ownership schemes – i.e. rent to buy option with long term rental payments to become shared equity in ownership.
• Shelter WA to ensure Aboriginal people are central to the review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
• Shelter WA in partnership with the Aboriginal community, increase advocacy for:
- The abolishment of the 3 strikes policy
- Aboriginal advocates to support people and liaise with the Department of Communities on housing issues.
- The Department of Communities to simplify housing jargon.
- The Department of Communities to undertake a cultural audit of current government housing policies and practice.
- A review of the negative impact of employment outcomes on social housing eligibility and the development of affordable and secure housing transition options.
- A policy to ensure that safe and stable housing and support is provided immediately for people being released from government institutions.
Artwork from the event
Artist Jade Dolman was commissioned to create an artwork during the forum. This beautiful work of the Swan River is below. Jade is a Whadjuk/Balladong Nyoongar (Mother's side), Eastern Arrernte (Father's side) woman from Perth. She is a visual artist and a cultural educator. Jade remains connected to her culture through painting and family.
She has a passion for making a change for Indigenous Australians especially youth through differen forms of art whether it be painting or dance. In December 2017 she graduated from the University of Western Australia. Her degree is a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Indigenous Knowledge, History & Heritage and Fine Arts.
This event was proudly supported by Lotterywest.