Australasian Housing Institute

Aboriginal Housing Master Class

Supporting a sustainable housing sector for Aboriginal people

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Description

The intent of this Master Class event is to provide a forum for senior housing professionals whose primary focus is housing Aboriginal people and leaders from emerging Aboriginal housing providers to exchange ideas and views on existing Aboriginal housing issues and future Aboriginal housing needs.

The format of the Master Class combines relevant case studies, research, presentations, discussions and workshops around different aspects of Aboriginal housing , such as:

  • Improving service delivery to Aboriginal tenants
  • Research in relation to Aboriginal housing to inform issues
  • Models of Aboriginal housing design
  • Place-making in Aboriginal communities
  • Sustaining Aboriginal tenancies
  • Aboriginal tenant panel – drawing out view point on housing design, tenancy management, support services
  • Engaging with Aboriginal Tenants and communities – involving tenants in the management of their homes
  • Transfer of Aboriginal housing stock to community providers
  • Non-Aboriginal housing providers – managing to skills gap to meet the needs of Aboriginal tenants
  • International models of Indigenous housing
  • AHO Asset Base – growth strategies and demand models
  • National regulatory system
  • Pathways to home ownership, including community ownership
  • Influencing policy and funding initiatives – how do housing providers get heard?

 

 

Feedback from Master Class participants:

  • Its a splendid opportunity to listen, learn and impart ideas to facilitate adoption of methodologies that work and disregard those that did not work effectively and efficiently.
  • A great opportunity to understand the operational and strategic challenges facing other jurisdictions.
  • I will take away the good example of Aboriginal housing organisations operating in NSW and Victoria with the knowledge that it can be done.
  • Was a great opportunity to network and gain greater insight into perceptions and considerations of other services.

Past events

16-17 May 2017, Sydney

On 16-17 May in Sydney, the Australasian Housing Institute co-hosted an Aboriginal Housing Master Class with NSW Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO). The Master Class was an opportunity to bring leaders from the Aboriginal Housing sector together to share information, highlight national learnings and address some of the big issues facing the sector. It was the second Aboriginal Housing Masterclass and the sixth in the AHI's Masterclass series. 

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Fifty participants from around Australia attended the two day event in Sydney. We heard from a wide range of expert practitioners who shared their knowledge about many aspects of delivering successful and sustainable Aboriginal Housing. Presenters included architects, researchers, CEO's, housing managers, tenancy officers and tenants. The topics ranged from appropriate design principles, community engagement, tenant support, and community participation in decision making. 
 
Round table discussions were conducted to address some key challenges and to share success stories. A great deal of enthusiasm and positive feedback for the Aboriginal Housing Masterclass again, and planning has already begun to conduct a third event next year. The full report from the event will be available in the next edition of HousingWORKS.     

 

8-9 September 2016, Sydney  

Aboriginal Housing Master Class Signals Opportunity for Greater National Collaboration

On 8-9 September in Sydney, the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) co-hosted an Aboriginal Housing Master Class with the Australasian Housing Institute. The Master Class was an opportunity to bring leaders from the Aboriginal Housing sector together to share information, highlight national learnings and address some of the big issues facing the sector.
 
Speakers such as Sam Jeffries, Sally Langton and AHO Chief Executive Shane Hamilton addressed the core question: How do we combine the experience of mainstream housing and Aboriginal housing to learn from each other and collaborate to better address Aboriginal housing issues and support sustainability?
 
According to Shane, the AHO was initially approached to consider an Aboriginal Housing Conference, but felt that a Master Class was a more dynamic forum to have detailed conversations.
 
Shane also highlighted the importance of the event being a national initiative, particularly given the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) ends in 2018. 
 
“We know that each state is in a different place with that agreement, so the conversation about Aboriginal Housing is absolutely one that concerns the whole of Australia,” explains Shane.
 
“As a sector, we need to start talking about where the real pressure points are going to be beyond 2018, and put our heads together to think about what a new agreement might focus on and whether another one should be developed.”
 
The Master Class was also an exciting opportunity to take a strengths-based approach and reflect on what has worked well in the sector and what it can keep building on. It was a time to look at what the sector could do differently and how it may need to change, to respond to emerging issues.
 
“There is great opportunity for us to share ideas and existing stories as a platform to talk about real solutions for future housing options for Aboriginal people,” says Shane.
 
“For example, there have been some really positive initiatives in transitional housing programs in Western Australia, which have clearly improved housing options for remote communities. This is something we could perhaps learn from and amplify nationally.”
 
One of the key issues the AHO wanted to raise with their national counterparts was that of stronger community engagement around the type of housing systems that are actually needed.
 
“In many cases, big national agreements can be seen to be imposing things on Aboriginal communities and developing systems and structures for us that do not reflect individual needs and aspirations.
 
“We don’t want to be in a situation where time and dollars drive a program and its outcomes; we want the drivers to be innovation and community need. This means we need to look at how we can better collaborate and co-design with our communities.”
 
Shane says should a new agreement or any kind of national partnership be developed, he wants to see innovation at its core, as it can’t simply be a ‘one size fits all’ model.
 
The AHO believes that forums like the Master Class are a great opportunity for this kind of innovation to flourish.
 
“With the NPARIH agreement ending in 2018, we need to start having these conversations now, so that we can better understand the level of need to plan for and start working on providing new solutions for people, as they transition through the housing continuum.
 
“We need to have a system that is responsive to those needs at every point on someone’s journey – not just solutions that are stuck and focused at one end of the spectrum.”
 
Shane argues that if you think about the broader, closing-the-gap agenda and look to health challenges, mental health, education, employment – all of those things have a theme, and that theme is housing support providing a strong foundation to address all of these other challenges.
 
“Beyond 2018, we know there will still be a lot of unmet need and there’s a challenge in making sure that programs are available at each stage of the housing continuum.
 
“We will also still face the challenge of making sure that programs and services are culturally relevant for Aboriginal people and their families. I think there’s a lot more we can do to support mainstream providers, who are connecting with Aboriginal communities,” says Shane.
 
The AHO hopes to continue to deliver master classes and similar events to ensure Aboriginal Housing has a voice and a recognised place in the broader housing sector.
 
“We do need our own platform to inform policy going forward. We need clear access and choice in housing options and we need to support our community in housing as well.
 
“By coming together as a national community, we can hopefully influence policy in a positive way and keep community need at the centre of decision making.”

Aboriginal Housing Office Chief Executive Shane Hamilton
Source

 

The Aboriginal Housing Masterclass was a wonderful success, with over 50 participants across the two days representing nearly every  Australian state and territory. The presentations over the two days raised many issues, highlighted the challenges, offered many insights, and shared many success stories. There were key 'success themes' that ran through all of the presentations, including cultural respect and understanding, engagement with local communities, and the importance of participation in decision making at a local level. There were also some great learnings about the need to achieve efficiencies of scale, but also building organisational capacity without being dependent on scale to do so.

The other highlight of the workshop was a series of 'roundtable' discussions. These group conversations gave rise to a vision for the future of Aboriginal housing and some great ideas about specific things that we can do individually and collectively to get there. The workshop ended on a high with a collective commitment to the workshop becoming an ongoing forum for discussions and future workshops to develop policy positions that will  inform the next round of NPARIH negotiations in 2017.

A productive and energising two days, yet we have just scratched the surface!

Andrew Davis, AHI President


The intent of this two-day residential Master Class event was to provide an opportunity for senior housing professionals whose primary focus is housing Aboriginal people and leaders from emerging Aboriginal housing to share results and generate ideas to work toward resolving existing Aboriginal housing issues and act on future Aboriginal housing needs. The format of the Master Class combined relevant case studies, discussions and workshops around different aspects of Aboriginal Housing, such as tenancy and property management, economic development, employment. 

We would like to thank our speakers for their valuable contributions:

  • Jane Bender | Chief Executive Officer | Gunida Gunya Aboriginal Corporation
  • Steve Bevington | Managing Director | Community Housing Limited
  • Col Dillon | Former QLD Police Inspector
  • Sam Jeffries | Chairperson | Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly
  • Shane Hamilton | Chief Executive & Executive Director | Aboriginal Housing Office
  • Sally Langton | Chief Executive Officer | Central Australian Affordable Housing Company
  • John McBryde | Operations Manager | Central Australian Affordable Housing Company
  • Suzanne Naden | Chief Executive Officer | Bungree Aboriginal Association Inc
  • Darren Smith | Director, Strategy and Performance | Aboriginal Housing Victoria
  • Bruce Woodhouse | Projects Manager | Group Business Initiatives | SGCH

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We would like to thank the Aboriginal Housing Office NSW for partnering with us on this event.

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