Aboriginal partnership cements housing fund

Tue 7 February, 2017

A partnership agreement with a Kimberley Aboriginal corporation has laid the foundation for the $200 million North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund to be tailored to local needs.

The fund is a major initiative of regional services reform and one of 10 priority actions in the Resilient Families; Strong Communities roadmap. It will support hundreds of Aboriginal people to move out of social housing into transitional housing, private rental accommodation or home ownership.

State reform leader Grahame Searle said the agreement meant a collaboration with Binarri-binyja yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation on the fund’s first project, which would involve building 50 more transitional housing dwellings in the Kimberley starting later this year.

“We are partnering with Binarri-binyja yarrawoo to co-design elements of the transitional housing and human services project,” Mr Searle said.

“Working together will help ensure that from the outset we provide the right support services for the Aboriginal families and individuals who move into the homes and that those services continue to meet their needs and circumstances.

“Binarri-binyja yarrawoo will also work with us on the design of the new houses, with a focus on innovation and customisation.”

Binarri-binyja yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation chair Lawford Benning said his organisation would apply the five social norms of Empowered Communities East Kimberley (ECEK) to the project:

  1.  Adults go to work or are in training
  2.  We care for children, old people and the vulnerable
  3.  Children go to school and are ready to learn
  4.  People take personal responsibility and do not commit crimes
  5.  People look after their homes and pay rent

“As well as a commitment to the social norms of ECEK, there will be an emphasis on incentivising and rewarding effort, and on the health, education and employment outcomes sought by the North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund,” Mr Benning said.

“We will work with the State Government to learn from failures, build on successes and seek opportunities for project improvements and innovation in project design. We will measure and monitor our joint efforts to ensure we are progressing towards our shared goals.”

The four-year North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund will expand on the State Government’s transitional housing model, developed with Wunan Foundation, which is operating in several Kimberley towns. This model helps Aboriginal participants to set life management goals, manage personal finances and access community support networks.

Transitional housing requires children to go to school, adults to work and householders to fulfil tenancy obligations and engage with support services, in exchange for affordable housing and support to transition to private rental accommodation or home ownership.

The fund is expected to result in increased school attendance for at least 600 Aboriginal children; participation in jobs and training by at least 300 adults; apprenticeships for 30 young people; eventual home ownership for at least 15 families; and about $25 million in services and construction contracts for Aboriginal organisations.

All projects under the fund will be required to achieve Aboriginal employment targets and facilitate local Aboriginal apprenticeships and traineeships.

State reform leader Grahame Searle and Binarri-binyja yarrawoo director Des Hill sign an agreement to partner in the design of the North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund.


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Last reviewed: 14 Mar 2017