Latest Communique from the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Forum Meetiing

Communique #1

Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Forum Meeting

Friday 5 May 2023

Members of the Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Forum (AHHF) held their second meeting of the calendar year on Friday 5 May 2023 at the Victorian Aboriginal community Services Association (VACSAL).

AHHF members welcomed a number of new commitments from the Victorian State Government in addressing the critical disadvantages faced by Aboriginal Victorians in procuring safe, affordable and appropriate housing and highlighted several concerns in this critical area of policy. With the announcements made at the meeting highlighting the effectiveness of AHHF members in securing better housing and homelessness outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

Support for Aboriginal Housing Registration

Minister for Housing Colin Brooks announced an $850,000 commitment to assist ACCOs/TOs to become registered housing providers under Victorian legislation and follows dedicated advocacy made on behalf of members by the AHHF Secretariat. The funding will be made available to ACCOs/TOs seeking to provide community housing to Aboriginal Victorians and will enable organisations to access future funding opportunities provided by State and Federal Governments. 

Launch of the Aboriginal Public Housing Transfer Management Pilot

The Victorian Government has approved in principle the commencement of the Aboriginal Public Housing Transfer Management Pilot. This will see the transfer of public housing tenancy management from Homes Victoria to ACCOs/TOs who are registered housing providers. The details of the pilot program are being finalised and AHHF members will be provided with regular updates as this work progresses.

Improving Data Sovereignty

Minister Brooks outlined a commitment to improve Victorian Government practices in relation to data sovereignty that will be critical in allowing Aboriginal Victorians to make informed decisions in relation to the policy decisions that directly affect them going forward. The Minister Housing will provide direction to Homes Victoria and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to release Aboriginal specific date as required. This will be followed up directly with Minister Brooks by the AHHF Secretariat and represents an issue that has been an ongoing concern for AHHF members.

Expansion of APRAP Program

From July 2023 the Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program will be expanded to four new regions and will be administered by the following organisations listed below:

  • Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative - Goulburn Region
  • Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative (GEGAC) - Outer Gippsland
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)- Brimbank Melton
  • Ngwala Willumbong- Bayside Peninsula

The expansion of APRAP is in large part due to persistent advocacy from AHHF members calling for this successful program to be made available to more Aboriginal renters.

REIV Traineeships and Cultural Safety Training for Real Estate Agents

State-wide APRAP Coordinator Ben McKenzie announced that the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) will be fully funding one hundred places for Aboriginal Victorians to undertake a Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice. This will be provided to help eliminate barriers for Aboriginal Victorians in procuring a private rental and will be complimented by the development of a cultural safety training program specifically tailored for real estate agents. The AHHF Secretariat is seeking expressions of interests from members to work directly with the REIV to promote the program to Aboriginal Victorians and develop the cultural Safety training program for real estate agents. This was a stream of work identified by the State-wide APRAP Coordinator to progress the program and has now been endorsed by AHHF members.

AHHF members welcomed the commitments made by the Victorian State Government and other organisations throughout the meeting and the role these policy decisions will play in advancing the goals of Mana-Na Woorn-Tyeen Maar-Takoort. With AHHF members also expressing a desire to receive a detailed update from the Minister for Housing in relation to date sovereignty and the funding commitments announced at the meeting.