Abstract: Approaches to providing stable housing and sustaining tenancies for Indigenous women are affected by their high mobility and poor service access, and compounded by differences between the structures and definitions of current services and perceptions of homelessness by Indigenous women. One hundred and four Indigenous women were recruited for interviews from temporary accommodation services in Darwin (64%) and Brisbane and Cherbourg (36%). The women were aged 19 to 63 years and nearly half were caring for children aged less than 18 years old. Three informal focus groups were held with women in temporary accommodation, two in urban Darwin and one in the town of Nhulunbuy (NT). Interviews were also held with Indigenous crisis accommodation providers, health and domestic violence services. The key findings of the research are: The high mobility and disconnection from community life of these women and their children means that they are often hidden and that standard homelessness services are unable to maintain contact with them. Factors contributing to the homelessness of these women and children include drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, family violence and debt. Feelings of shame and low literacy can prevent such women from: seeking help, reporting family violence, gaining access to services, and attending training programs.
Notes: This Positioning Paper describes the background to, aims and methodology for a research project being undertaken throughout 2003 to identify the major factors that initiate and sustain iterative homelessness among Indigenous families in both urban and remote areas, especially Indigenous women and children.