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Indigenous Australians make up 25 percent of the homeless population even though they comprise only 3.3 per cent of the Australian population. This Australia Day, let’s talk about homelessness and how it is impacting our First Nations peoples.

Reconciliation Queensland invites you to a Q&A-style panel discussion on Australia Day 2018 to talk about homelessness.

Let's Talk About Homelessness

This event will be hosted by Senator Andrew Bartlett.

Panellists will include:

Entertainment will be provided by Aunty Ruth Ghee and the Hummingbird Collective, as well as the Songlines Community Choir.

We hope you can join us at Arana Leagues Club, 247 Dawson Parade, Keperra, for this special event.

ENTRY IS FREE but donations would be appreciated. Other organisations providing services for the homeless will be represented in the audience and there will be information regarding services for the homeless available from display tables at the event.

RSVP: email events@rqi.org.au or call Rosalie on 0448 468 618. Please advise of any dietary requirements at time of RSVP.

Download a flyer for the event here [PDF 595KB].

Collection for the homeless

Please bring donations of toiletries for both men and women for distribution to persons who are currently homeless or in need of such items. Contributions need to be new and unopened (e.g. hair shampoo, conditioner, combs, hairbrushes, body wash, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitary pads, tampons, deodorants, face washers, hand towels, perfume, men’s toiletries etc).

“Overcrowding in remote communities is at crisis levels and the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in both out-of-home care and juvenile justice institutions are leading contributors to homelessness and are a national shame.
Catherine Yeomans – CEO, Mission Australia (Huffington Post, 07/09/2016)

Why is homelessness so high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?

(Information courtesy of Homelessness Australia)

The concept of home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be different – in addition to physical homelessness, spiritual homelessness (separation from
country, customary law and/or kin/skin groups) can be a significant issue for Indigenous Australians.

There is currently a shortage of more than 20,000 properties across Australia that are affordable and appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The shortage of larger culturally appropriate houses that can accommodate kin and increasingly children in kinship care arrangements means that high numbers of Aboriginal people are in severely overcrowded households.

Due to the remote locations of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people there is often a lack of specialist homelessness services, less workers and substandard housing, which all contribute to severe overcrowding and other forms of homelessness in remote communities. Many people do not consider themselves homeless because they are staying on country and this may result in an undercount on Census night. Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience discrimination in the housing market making it difficult to access private rental and even public housing.

Family and random violence are significant problems in some Aboriginal communities. Violence occurring within extended kin groups – called “feuding” – can lead to the victimised household becoming homeless . Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 35 times more likely to experience family violence than non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. They can readily become homeless as a result of this violence.

There is some evidence that ‘couch surfing’ is commonplace amongst young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Some young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men experience homelessness if they are lured to major cities with the prospect of selection on the rookie lists of Aussie Rules and League clubs.

If this does not happen, young men often lack the resources to either secure housing in cities or pay for transport back to country.

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