Refund the First Nations Homelessness Project

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The First Nations Homelessness Project has the nation’s highest rate of eviction prevention. We also work to reduce future risk of similar recurring predicaments where households are at risk of eviction. We work to stabilise families and improve life circumstances. From October 2017 to January 2020, we worked alongside and supported 216 of the most acutely vulnerable households across the Perth region. We focused on a most complex need basis, a triage based approach, and each household supported was a First Nations family with young children, mostly single parent families in social housing, at imminent risk to eviction. Without our intervention and relentless psychosocial support their predicament was either certain homelessness, or transience through being houseless, and child protection implications, many would have had their children removed to out-of-homecare, their families torn apart.

Of the 216 households supported during this two-year-plus stretch, only 9 eviction prevention efforts were unfortunately unsuccessful, however we continued to offer support to these families through various transitions, they were not stranded. The First Nations Homelessness Project, which works exclusively with the most at-risk, the most complex cases, has the highest eviction prevention success rate in the nation; 95.8 percent.

We are currently funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency – formerly Prime Minister and Cabinet Indigenous Affairs – and therefore by the Commonwealth Government, only to March 31, 2020. The Commonwealth Government argues that the State Government should fund the First Nations Homelessness Project. We hope our service, the First Nations Homelessness Project, will be funded by the State Government’s Department of Communities, rather than disappear and the most vulnerable families issued with termination notices that the Courts will evict. We work alongside the 10 to 15 percent of at-risk public rental households who are the crushingly vulnerable families with an array of complex issues that we assist with to reverse their predicament, prevent their termination notice issued eviction.

Western Australia has the nation’s highest eviction rate and toll of families – First Nations and of non-Indigenous West Australian families from public housing – and the First Nations Homelessness Project has prevented evictions at both Perth’s and the nation’s highest rate but is at risk itself of not being funded – it’s more than travesty, it’s tragedy.

More than 1,000 children have been supported by the First Nations Homelessness Project, supported to the retention of their home, supported to remain an intact family, supported to improved living circumstances.

The First Nations Homelessness Project – and all they represent, the most vulnerable families, children – should not be caught up in the middle of who should fund and rather everyone should be racing to fund what in fact has thus far been a modest funding spend for a social return and transformational value that has delivered bigtime.

Many thanks.