Aboriginal community housing organisations are key to an effective housing system. They are more than a landlord. They operate as an integral part of the social housing service system and contribute to making the housing system more effective for Aboriginal people. They put culture at the centre of their operations, bringing decisions closer to communities and are a demonstration of Aboriginal-led housing solutions. In addition, they act as an interface between mainstream agencies and the local community, as appropriate. For example, by providing information and brokerage services for tenants or by encouraging partnerships that utilise the combined resources of the mainstream and specialist partners to generate additional housing and service options for Aboriginal clients.
There are four Western Australian Aboriginal Community Housing Organisations. The organisations are small, all with under 100 homes under management. None of them are registered. Research indicates that regulated/registered community housing providers are better placed to establish a more viable business model which enhances their scale and capacity.
Unlike other jurisdictions, there has been very limited effort of investment by the WA government in building the capacity of the Aboriginal Community Housing sector.
In 2016, the Victorian Government agreed to transfer social housing assets worth $500 million to Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) to own, manage and develop on behalf of the state. It is believed that this was around 1,500 titles. Prior to the transfer AHV had 76 properties. AHV provides affordable housing to over 4,000 low income Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians and is a registered provider. The Victorian Government was of the view that the transfer of properties would:
- Achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal people.
- Provide more affordable homes to Aboriginal Victorians by increasing the social housing stock of Aboriginal Housing Victoria.
- Provide secure housing for Aboriginal Victorians and continue to strengthen cultural and community ties.
- Allow Aboriginal Victorians to manage their own affairs, such as housing.
- Align the needs of the Victorian Aboriginal Community in the long term.