AHURI NEWS

Short term funding restricts homelessness support for Indigenous Australians

18 Jan 2017

AHURI research finds no government program specifically targets supporting homeless Indigenous Australians

A recent AHURI report, ‘Safe and sound? How funding mix affects homelessness support for Indigenous Australians’, has found that no Federal or State government program specifically targets supporting homeless Indigenous Australians or those at risk of experiencing homelessness, despite their being significantly over represented in the homeless population. The Indigenous Australian population experiences homelessness at a rate 14 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians.

The research examined a range of services—mainstream, Indigenous-specific, homelessness specific and key groups such as youth and people experiencing domestic and family violence—in Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

Although 9 per cent of Australia’s homeless population are Indigenous Australians, limited term funding arrangements, as short as one year, make it difficult for homelessness services that support homeless Indigenous people to develop and maintain the most appropriate services.

...Indigenous Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may not be receiving support that is best suited to them or is culturally appropriate...

Policy changes and uncertainty created by short term funding arrangements have had an impact on service provision and outcomes for Indigenous Australians, Dr Angela Spinney from Swinburne University of Technology, says ‘While almost all of the organisations we interviewed received small, additional types of funding or support, such as donations of goods, philanthropic grants and cash donations from community members and fundraising activities, most were cautious about further pursuing funding from diverse sources, as the time taken by staff to source such funding gets in the way of good service delivery.’

‘As a consequence, Indigenous Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may not be receiving support that is best suited to them or is culturally appropriate, and this is likely to reduce the effectiveness of services.’

Indigenous Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may not be receiving support that is best suited to them or is culturally appropriate.

Download the report