4735.0 - Discussion Paper: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Perspectives on Homelessness, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/08/2013  First Issue
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From March to June 2013, the ABS engaged with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and service providers at the 'grass roots' level to capture views and experiences of homelessness within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context.

Engagement was conducted in a culturally appropriate manner, and with due consideration of the burden of research and time already placed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The ABS' National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) sought advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and groups to determine suitable methodological approaches and question wording to translate complex homelessness concepts into meaningful and understandable questions that were culturally appropriate.

Key concepts ABS wanted to explore with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people included:

  • home, including concepts of spiritual home, my country,
  • definition of resident / visitor,
  • accommodation alternatives,
  • adequacy of the dwelling,
  • security of tenure in the dwelling,
  • crowding.

A workshop was held with the research consultancy group: 'Ninti One' to provide expert insight into the cultural appropriateness of these research concepts. Advice was provided on question wording and methodological approaches in the field. Members of the ABS Round Table on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, and ABS Indigenous Engagement Managers were also consulted. A discussion guide was developed and used as a framework for engagement.

The discussion guide comprised the following questions:

1. Talking about home…
  • Can you tell me what home means to you?
      • What makes it a home?
      • How important is a home to you?

2. Talking about where you usually live…
  • Do you feel comfortable there?

3. Do you have people visiting you?
  • Why? For how long usually?
  • Would people staying or visiting consider it as their home?
  • Do you like people staying with you?

4. Talking about homelessness…
  • What do you think being homeless is?
  • Do you have a story you would like to tell about homelessness?
  • Do you have any thoughts about why people are homeless?

5. Talking about what makes a good place to stay…
  • What is the most and least important?
      • Family/kinship?
      • Country/homeland?
      • Bathroom/kitchen?[working, access to]
      • Stability of living in a place? (tenancy arrangement)
      • Space for living?
      • Privacy for talking?
      • Having control over your place?

6. Talking about (if you were stuck for) a place to stay…
  • Do you always have family you can stay with? - If answer is "no" then.…
      • If you were stuck for a place to stay, could you find another place?
      • Who could you stay with?
      • Where would you stay?
      • How long could you stay there?
      • Would you consider it home? If not what would you call it?
      • If you had to leave, would you go back home?