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Urban Indigenous homelessness: much more than housing

This project reviews policy, practice and service delivery in relation to Indigenous homelessness in urban settings. It explores culturally safe responses to homelessness from Indigenous perspectives and considers options for more holistic and better targeted, coordinated and operationalised support for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in urban settings.

Indigenous Australians are disproportionately overrepresented on all measures of socioeconomic disadvantage. Despite recognition that Indigenous people are 15 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be homeless or at risk of homelessness and constitute some 24 per cent of specialist homelessness service users, there remains a lack of dedicated services for homeless Indigenous Australians. 

This project will address four research questions:

  1. What are the causes, drivers and cultural contextual meanings of homelessness for Indigenous Australians in urban settings?
  2. What do culturally safe responses to homelessness look like for Indigenous Australians?
  3. How are homelessness, family and child support, health and wellbeing, and housing programs targeted, coordinated and operationalised to support Indigenous Australians in urban settings?
  4. How are Indigenous community-controlled organisations and governance bodies engaged with in the provision of homelessness support?

A desktop review of literature, demographics, policy and legislation in four jurisdictions will be conducted (SA, Vic, NSW and/or Qld.). The research team will visit six field work sites to undertake qualitative interviews with key stakeholders to identify key themes; and key elements will be tested with reference group members and where possible key stakeholders. 

This research project aims to develop an Indigenous-focused, culturally centred adaptation of the Housing First approach that takes account the support that might be needed to support Indigenous peoples’ safe home, space or place needs. 

A comprehensive Final Report will include a short practice guide for practitioners in the field and policy recommendations.

Lead Researcher: Associate Professor Deirdre Tedmanson, University of South Australia

Project Number: 32227