The Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework (the Framework) or Mana-na woorn-tyeen maar-takoort was developed in 2020 by community, for community in response to the overwhelming challenges faced by Aboriginal people at risk of and experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

The scale and growth of the issue is deeply concerning, with the number of Aboriginal Victorians requiring assistance by homeless services increasing by 33.6 percent in four years, the fastest rate of growth for Aboriginal people anywhere in Australia.

Aboriginal people in Victoria also experience contact with homelessness services at ten times the rate of other Victorians, with one in six Aboriginal people seeking homelessness assistance in 2019.

This situation is clearly unacceptable. However, the existing responses are insufficient and fragmented, with a range of key issues from a lack of housing and culturally safe services to barriers to access and weak pathways out of homelessness limiting short- and long-term outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

The challenge

The Framework provides the core building blocks for transforming Aboriginal housing in Victoria, with a key objective to co-design and rebuild an Aboriginal focused homelessness system from the ground up.

This is critical as attempting to solve each of the current challenges separately will not move the dial on the over-representation of Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness. It requires a fresh, practical and holistic approach, guided by the clear vision that every Aboriginal person has a home.

To ensure Aboriginal Housing Victoria was set up for success, KPMG worked closely with representatives from the Victorian Aboriginal community to co-design the two halves of a system-wide transformation, including the:

  • end-to-end service arrangements, encompassing the flow of services supporting clients all the way from entry and right through to exit and post-exit supports
  • enablers or mechanisms which underpin and support the management and workings of the system.

Our approach

To support Aboriginal Housing Victoria undertake this complex project, we used a multi-disciplinary KPMG and Arrilla team.

This involved a highly culturally competent management consulting team from across our national practice with a blend of expertise in Aboriginal affairs, housing and homelessness, service system design and customer centred reform.

Collectively, we worked through a number of packages of work:

  • Developing detailed understanding of the current state issues, bringing together a clear and evidence-based picture of the need for change.
  • Undertaking research of leading and emerging approaches across national and international jurisdictions for addressing first nations homelessness.
  • Facilitating dynamic co-design sessions with the sector to build a systems approach, grounded in the voice and experience of the client and workforce.
  • Developing the end-to-end blueprint for an Aboriginal-specific homelessness system, including the service arrangements and underpinning enablers for system management.
  • Undertaking transition planning for the first stage of implementation of the system, ensuring it is both ambitious and practical.

What was delivered

Through this collaborative partnership we helped to establish the foundational blueprint for the service system and a clear plan for the first stage of implementation, enabling a staged roll-out to progressively support more and more Aboriginal Victorians in need, intervene earlier to prevent homelessness and support ongoing learning and improvement of the system over time.

The system will introduce a ‘no wrong door’ approach to ensure people at risk of homelessness are identified earlier and have equitable access to support, establish Aboriginal specific and culturally safe entry points to the system which are integrated with wrap-around support services and linked to housing options.

It will be underpinned by a cultural safety framework, a devolved model of system stewardship, a dynamic approach to managing supply and demand, cross-sector collaboration, effective capacity building, resources and tools, as well as enhanced data and information systems.

The approach ensures Aboriginal Victorians have individual choice in the services they engage with, receive the right support at the right time that are tailored and targeted to their needs, and the system is underpinned by principles of Housing First and self-determination.

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