Our Homes: Final Report

Our Homes: Final Report Report

  • Author(s): Spencer, Michaela, Christie, Michael
  • Published: 2020
  • Publisher: Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

Abstract: Key Insights• The policy shift towards becoming a ‘social landlord’ is more apparent within government departments than it is on the ground. On the ground, the ‘social landlord’ is characterised by face-to-face contact with housing officers who deal with a range of social-housing issues from clarifying rents, reporting on allocation decisions, accepting allocations advice, and repairs and maintenance. Where this integrated service takes place, the social landlord is welcomed and appreciated.• The identification of a ‘head tenant’ for each dwelling is often accepted as a useful and necessary practice. At times the authority of the head tenant will mirror hierarchies of kinship authority, at times it may not. Working with tensions between these differing forms of authority often involves complex negotiations which are usually invisible to the government workers. But being able defer to government staff can sometimes be helpful when head tenants feel otherwise usable to step into a role of authority over family and kin relations. • Tenants and other residents see ‘household management’ as the practice and negotiation of contemporary Aboriginal kinship and cultural relations in contexts of overcrowding, financial and social stresses and often poor housing conditions.• The policy shift towards becoming a ‘social landlord’ offers opportunity to be talking more explicitly about a shift to integrated household safety discussions, including housing as integral to the maintenance of cultural practices. • Residents see the physical spaces of housing as playing an active role in keeping people healthy, safe and flourishing within their culture – “some houses have culture”. Means for achieving this flourishing include design and internal and external structural features such as appropriate spaces to separate genders and avoidance kin, fencing and landscaping for health and safety, and secure storage facilities.• The engagement of local workers in repairs and maintenance (R&M) and housing construction is seen to provide not only employment, but better and healthier community ownership of housing and its contribution to community health. • The ability to live collocated with other family members is considered highly contributive to healthy personal and family life, even when sickness in the family suggests a move to Alice Springs or Darwin. • Breakdown of communication over housing matters including repairs and maintenance was seen as a more serious problem at Santa Teresa than at Galiwin’ku. This may have to do with the difference in the local housing associations, with Marthakal (Galiwin’ku) being a more established and trusted local provider than organisations servicing Santa Teresa.

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Suggested Citation
Spencer, Michaela, Christie, Michael, 2020, Our Homes: Final Report, Report, viewed 06 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=19298.

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