On Friday 5 April 2019, Aboriginal Housing Victoria convened Victoria’s first Aboriginal housing and homelessness Summit. The purpose of the Summit was to inform the development of an Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Policy Framework for Victoria. The Summit was attended by 127 people. Participants included Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Owners, Aboriginal social housing tenants, Aboriginal peak organisations and leaders, senior Government officials from the Departments of Premier and Cabinet and Health and Human Services, leaders of Victoria’s Aboriginal community controlled organisations, senior members of Australian housing and homeless research organisations, mainstream housing and homeless providers and peak organisations and industry.
The day commenced with a keynote address by Jack Charles, followed by a community panel that included Aunty Pat Ockwell, Aunty Di Kerr, Aunty Shirley Firebrace and Sharyn Lovett. The panel discussed their personal housing and homelessness experiences and the current obstacles that Aboriginal Victorians continue to face in Victoria’s housing economy. This set the scene for the day.
The majority of the Summit was dedicated to hearing the views of participants on thirteen core issues through thirteen individual workshops. Six workshops in the morning were organized according to the ‘building blocks’ of housing. Seven workshops were conducted in the afternoon to consider in detail the life events that impact on housing experiences and in particular the housing needs of specific cohorts of Aboriginal people and the challenges they face in achieving affordable, secure and good quality housing.
This report provides a snapshot of the ideas and suggestions raised through the workshops. The ideas generated through the Summit will be a major input, informing the development of the Framework. The Framework will take a 'rights-based' self-determination approach that places Aboriginal Victorians and their communities firmly at the centre of housing policy initiatives. The Framework will be presented to the State Government in the second half of 2019.