Aboriginal homelessness requires a different cultural approach
According to a new report released today in Canberra, Aboriginal people are 15 times more likely than other Australians to become homeless as a result of racism, land expropriation, deep economic deprivation and cultural oppression.
But tackling the problem requires a culturally sensitive approach aligned with Aboriginal values centered on security and understanding, argue the authors of “Urban Indigenous Homelessness: Much More Than Housing.”
The report identifies poor literacy, education, criminal history, domestic violence and lack of sustainable leases leading to a “revolving door” of homelessness among Aboriginal people in cities.
The report, commissioned by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, written by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers from the University of South Australia and University of Tasmania, emphasizes the need to approach homelessness from an Aboriginal, rather than a Western, perspective. approach.
Lead researcher UniSA Associate Professor Deirdre Tedmanson says a lack of dedicated services for homeless Aboriginal people in urban areas is a serious problem.
“While structural discrimination, mental illness and poverty can make it difficult for Aborigines to access and maintain housing, the real barriers are lack of funding, affordable housing and limited crisis and temporary housing,” Assoc said. Prof. dr. Tedmanson says.
“Some causes of homelessness, such as overcrowding, are common problems for Aboriginal communities and can be linked in part to complex and important kinship obligations.
“Western notions of ‘home’ and ‘homelessness’ do not necessarily resonate in the same way with Aboriginal Australians in regional and remote areas, so it is important that responses are culturally informed, culturally appropriate and culturally safe.”
Aboriginal women fleeing domestic violence find it especially difficult to live away from family support networks, the researchers say, and need support to fulfill cultural obligations while being protected.
The research calls for new policy and funding strategies that require direct input from Aboriginal leaders to improve coordination of housing, homelessness and related services in urban communities.
“Supporting the comprehensive care that Aboriginal community-controlled organizations can provide is critical, as self-determination in finding sustainable solutions is key.
“It’s a circular solution. Stable housing improves mental and physical health problems along with substance abuse, and addressing these problems leads to safer housing. In short, we need more culturally safe accessible social housing for First Nations people,” Assoc. Prof. dr. Tedmanson says.
Indigenous-led supportive housing can be transformative
Deirdre Tedmanson et al, Urban Indigenous Homelessness: Much More Than Housing, Final report AHURIA (2022). DOI: 10.18408/ahuri3222701
Quote: Aboriginal Homelessness Requires a Different Cultural Approach (2022, Aug. 10) Retrieved Aug. 10, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-aboriginal-homelessness-requires-cultural-approach.html
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