Creating culturally sensitive housing for remote Indigenous communities

State and commonwealth proposals to build new housing for indigenous families in remote regions should consider the style and design of housing that will best support those families. Providing appropriate social housing for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians in remote areas requires an understanding of the cultural norms and practices of those households.

At times, cultural customs can come into conflict with rules and requirements set by state and territory housing authorities. For example, social housing households that practice ‘demand sharing’ can be deemed to be overcrowded and can lead to householders being evicted due to insufficient rent being paid for the number of people living in the house, excessive wear-and-tear damage caused to buildings and complaints about excessive noise.

AHURI research found that government funded social housing providers typically consider the appropriateness of their social housing in terms of what is required and preferred for a non-Indigenous nuclear family, and that ‘…standardised planning and housing is not necessarily suitable or appropriate for the diverse cultural, gender, age and extended family structures evident in Aboriginal communities’.

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Source: AHURI