Indigenous people of Australia face housing crises and increasingly impossible living conditions
October 18, 2012
A shortfall in government-owned accommodation is forcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into overcrowded homes, their cars or the streets, say Canberra welfare groups.
Concern over a lack of accommodation follows an increase in the number of self-identified indigenous public housing tenants in the past year.
One problem highlighted by housing groups is overcrowding, as seen in the case of a single mother who until recently lived in one room with her four young sons aged between seven years and 20 months.
Now in emergency accommodation with the help of a local charity, the woman said she felt there was some discrimination against her and others due to the higher levels of family support traditionally provided by indigenous families.
”I’ve had problems with housing since I moved here in December,” she said.
”At the time, I was living with my parents in a crowded house. I’ve got four young boys of my own and we were all in one room.”
Aboriginal Housing and Management Support Inc director Darren Williams said overcrowding was a common impact of insufficient housing for indigenous families, who work on a kinship basis. ”You’re not going to turn away any family and friends, especially if they’re in need,” he said.
”That’s why you’ve got problems with overcrowding.”