Public Housing Investigations

FINDING A PLACE

An inquiry into discrimination against Aboriginal people in public housing - 2004

A BETTER WAY

A report into the Department of Houseng' disruptive hehaviour strateg & more effective methods for dealing with tenants - 2012

FINDING A PLACE

Reports

  • Finding a Place: An inquiry into the existence of discriminatory practices in relation to the provision of public housing and related services to Aboriginal people in Western Australia - 2004
  • Finding a Place: Final report of the Implementation and Monitoring Committee - 2011

Background to the inquiry

In the period 2003-2004, the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity conducted an extensive investigation into discrimination in public housing against Aboriginal people.

The investigation found there were many areas where the policy and practice of the the Department of Housing and Works tended to provide greater difficulties for Aboriginal people in either gaining or maintaining tenancies. These tenancies were characterised by large families, family violence, and parents and grandparents in poor health, poverty and previous Homeswest tenancies.  For some Aboriginal people regular periods of upheaval due to premature death of relatives, chronic disease and disability, and neighborhood disputes about cultural issues and obligations foreign to most Australians added to the above disabilities.

The report: Finding a Place

The report of this investigation, Finding a Place, made far reaching 165 recommendations which over the five years since its release have been progressively implemented by the Department of Housing in partnership with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

The first recommendation of Finding a Place was to establish a committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the report.

Implementing Finding a Place

The Monitoring Committee oversaw the implementation of the recommendations of Finding a Place. It also responded to new initiatives or changes in policy or legislation which may have a bearing on the provision of housing for Aboriginal people.

The inaugural meeting of the Committee was held in 2005.  The Committee had a broad membership from government agencies such as the Department of Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Child Protection, Strong Families and community organisations who deal with the issues of housing and tenancy such as the Aboriginal Legal Service, Tenants; Advice Service, Shelter, WACOSS, advocate organisations such as Jacaranda and Day Dawn.  There were also individual community advocates who represent Aboriginal clients.

The Committee formally ended on 12 July 2010, however it was agreed that six monthly forums would continue.

The future

The challenge for the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Department of Housing is to ensure that the Department's policies, procedures and practices do not have unintended adverse effects for Aboriginal people who have one or more of the needs outlined above and therefore the effect of them being treated less favourably in gaining or while as a tenant.

Finding a Place: An inquiry into the existence of discriminatory practices in relation to the provision of public housing and related services to Aboriginal people in Western Australia

A BETTER PLACE

This report makes a number of recommendations about dealing with disruptive behaviour by public housing tenants. It looks at best practice from other jurisdictions and it endorses the view that with the exception of dangerous or illegal activity normal household noise and behaviour that arises from a tenancy should be addressed in a supportive manner where it impacts on others.

A significant proportion of public housing tenants come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have health problems including mental health issues. The trend in public housing in Australia is for this proportion to increase. This requires the development of a range of early intervention and supportive measures tailored to the very circumstances of individuals and families whose tenancies show signs of stress. I appreciate that this is resource intensive work that some housing authorities do not see themselves as well equipped to provide.

Yvonne Henderson
Commissioner for Equal Opportunity

 

 

Finding a Place: An inquiry into the existence of discriminatory practices in relation to the provision of public housing and related services to Aboriginal people in Western Australia

Finding a Place 2004
pdfDownload pdf (5 MB)


Finding a Place: Final report of the Implementation and Monitoring Committee

Finding a Place - Final Report of the Implementation and Monitoring Committee 2011
pdfDownload pdf (767 KB)


A better way: An inquiry into the Department of Housing's disruptive behaviour strategy & more effective methods for dealing with tenants

A Better Way Report

pdf Download A Better Way Report pdf (767kb)
word Download A Better Way Report docx (1mb)