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Housing and Indigenous disability: lived experiences of housing and community infrastructure

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... Other systemic and social barriers in the disability service and housing systems include administrative and financial obstacles (Beer et al., 2012), limited services in regional areas and lack of transportation; and experiences of discrimination, racism and negative service provider attitudes that result in distrust in services (Cortese et al., 2021;Currie et al., 2007;Durey and Thompson, 2012;Soldatic et al., 2014). Personal barriers include living with psychosocial disability (the episodic nature of the disability making it difficult to maintain ones tenancy), low income (Beer et al., 2012;Grant et al., 2016), limited social and peer support, and barriers to self-advocacy arising from culturally diverse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds (Grant et al., 2016;Sawrikar and Katz, 2008). These multiple barriers intersect and create complex, interconnected unmet needs. ...
... Other systemic and social barriers in the disability service and housing systems include administrative and financial obstacles (Beer et al., 2012), limited services in regional areas and lack of transportation; and experiences of discrimination, racism and negative service provider attitudes that result in distrust in services (Cortese et al., 2021;Currie et al., 2007;Durey and Thompson, 2012;Soldatic et al., 2014). Personal barriers include living with psychosocial disability (the episodic nature of the disability making it difficult to maintain ones tenancy), low income (Beer et al., 2012;Grant et al., 2016), limited social and peer support, and barriers to self-advocacy arising from culturally diverse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds (Grant et al., 2016;Sawrikar and Katz, 2008). These multiple barriers intersect and create complex, interconnected unmet needs. ...
Article
Policy changes often aim to improve the access of socially marginalized people who face systemic, social and personal barriers to the support they need. A major policy reform in Australia was the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which was introduced to meet the country’s human rights obligations. NDIS is publicly funded to allocate individual funding packages to 10% of people with disability and facilitates access to mainstream services for all people with disability. Support services are intended to be entitlements, consistent with a human rights framework. Predictably, the most marginalized people remain under-represented in both packages and mainstream access, including people with psychosocial disability who are at risk of homelessness. A 2-year project was conducted to familiarize people with disability and service providers who have contact with them about how to access support. People with Disability Australia managed the project as action research with university researchers. The research used interviews to study how to improve access. People with disability were advisors to the governance and research design. The findings were that it took many months for people with disability and the organizations that support them to trust the project staff, understand the relevance of disability to their lives, and to take steps to seek their entitlements to support. Some implications for policy are conceptual in terms of the policy language of disability, which alienates some people from the services to which they are entitled. Other implications are bureaucratic – the gap between homeless and disability organizations means that they prioritize people’s immediate needs and people who are easier to serve, rather than facilitating sustainable support. A global social policy implication is that specialized interventions to advocate for the rights of marginalized people with disability and to demonstrate how to engage with them remains a priority while gaps between service types persist.
... As was noted in a recent report by the Australian Housing and Urban Institute, Australian Aboriginal people living with disabilities experience geographical displacement in order to access accommodation suitable for their disabilities (Grant et al., 2017). Australian Aboriginal people place great emphasis in their connection to their land, thus it is important to have appropriate accommodation in proximity to their community. ...
... The increasingly worldwide implementation of smart meters for measuring electricity use also offers powerful leverage for enhancing monitoring of PWD to provide assistance when aberrant power use is observed [192]. It has, however, also been noted that social and economic factors may limit the ability of PWD to benefit from these infrastructures [193]. ...
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Despite regulations and major efforts aimed at protecting the rights of people with disabilities, there are still huge challenges to ensure community access and full participation of persons with disabilities in society, in a context where the prevalence of disability will increase over the next decades. In this chapter, we examine three aspects of the community access issue—access to services, the value of both existing and emerging technologies, and social and economic policymaking. In addition to an efficient rehabilitation process focusing on physical and mental capabilities, enhancing community access and social participation will require the optimization of access to services such as primary healthcare, family support, the home environment, and job training, which currently are highly variable between jurisdictions. Key concepts in this regard include the notion of resiliency—support for both individuals and their families as well as their communities should aim to enhance the ability of these to rebound from challenging situations and create new ways of functioning. Technologies that enhance mobility, communication, and home adaptation also play an increasingly important role in favouring community access and participation. While these are essential to compensate various forms of disabilities, the current rapid evolution of technologies does not allow adequate efficacy testing, limiting the establishment of best practices or recommendations regarding these products and often overestimating their benefits. Finally, better community access and participation, supported by an enabling environment should not be based on a culture of disability but a culture of ‘ability’ that impacts all citizens regardless of their life situation.
... One ABS survey (the NATSISS-the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey) noted that in the order of 50 per cent of Indigenous people (some 163 000 people at the time of the NATSISS in 2008) were living with some form of disability (Biddle et al. 2014). Physical disability appears to be the most common disability type reported by Indigenous Australians (AIHW 2011a, p.47), although questions arise as to how many Indigenous Australians live with some form of psychosocial disability, but are precluded from service delivery due to Eurocentric definitions of disability (Grant et al. 2016). ...
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This feedback has been prepared cross-institutionally with a transdisciplinary approach by Associate Professor Elizabeth Grant, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Dr Sharon Shalev, consultant at Solitaryconfinement.org and Centre for Criminology, Oxford University, and Professor Bronwyn Naylor, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University. Our feedback focuses predominately on the following areas: provisions for prisoners living with disabilities; standards relating to segregation; use of force and restraints; prison conditions; and terminology and definitions.
... People with significant disability are some of the most economically and social disadvantaged Australians and are affected by low incomes, limited access to paid work (Kavanagh, Krnjacki et al. 2013), poor access to affordable and appropriate housing (Beer and Faulkner 2011) andunder previous policy regimes-a reliance on family and other informal carers to meet their needs (Productivity Commission 2010. These inequalities can be more acute for women than for men (Kavanagh, Krnjacki et al. 2015), as well as for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Grant, Zillante et al. 2017) and may vary according to type of disability and the source of the impairment. People with a disability are often concentrated in social housing, including large-scale estates (Tually, Beer et al. 2011), and often under circumstances that do not meet their needs (Kroehn, Hutson et al. 2008). ...
... Much of the literature indicates that Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures are the 'tip of the iceberg.' The National People with Disabilities and Carer Council (NPDCC), the Australian Productivity Commission, the First Nations Disability Network and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have all questioned the accuracy of the current data on the prevalence of disability within the Indigenous population ( Grant et al. 2017). ...
... Australian scholars Grant and colleagues (2016) have noted the significance of mobility aids and equipment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with disability in rural and remote Australia, capturing the particular ways in which personal mobility aids and equipment are intimately tied to the making of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity through enabling their enduring involvement in cultural practices and ceremony, alongside taking up communal responsibilities. Mobility and physical movement for Indigenous people with disabilities is thus multifaceted; personal mobility is critical for the realisation of disabled people's individual autonomy, self-expression and care of the self (see Imrie, 2014), and this is intimately intertwined with the individual's social expression of cultural integrity, participation and belonging (Grant et al., 2016). ...
Article
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There is growing concern surrounding the retraction of disability social provisioning measures across the western world, with state fiscal policy trends foregrounding austerity as a central principle of welfare provisioning. This is occurring within many of the nation-states that have ratified and legislated rights enshrined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This article undertakes a critical analysis of disability income retraction in Australia since the early 2000s and examines these changes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with disability by focusing on Article 20 of the CRPD, the right to personal mobility, a core right for people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples. Beyond economic inequality, the article illustrates that the various administrative processes attached to welfare retraction have implications for the realisation of mobility practices that are critical for individual cultural identity and wellbeing. Disability austerity has resulted in a new form of Indigenous containment, fixing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities in a cyclical motion of poverty management.
Article
The paper considers what housing studies can learn from Indigenous understandings of the house-as-home. Explored through Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies of the house-as-home, the objective of the paper is to offer nuanced understandings of the social and material work of the house itself in the making and unmaking of home. We draw on an Indigenous/non-Indigenous collaborative research, led by Jerrinja elders. The research design included veranda yarning sessions and Indigenous talking circles. Three dimensions emerged strongly from Jerrinja people’s understandings of the making and unmaking of house-as-home: home as an objective capacity, an aesthetic sensibility, and an affective experience of Country. These dimensions are discussed through a relational framework that combines Panelli’s discussion of ‘Country-as-home’, Prout’s idea of ‘kinship-as-home’ and Bissell’s thinking around materiality in achieving comfort. The paper concludes by reflecting on the importance of including Indigenous knowledge if housing studies as a field is to go beyond a Western cultural politics of the house-as-home.
Article
Objective The current study explored the experiences and aspirations of a cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults with neurocognitive disability residing in a homeless shelter in regional Queensland, Australia. Neurocognitive disability (NCD) refers to any acquired disorder or injury to the brain where the primary clinical deficit is in cognitive function. Method The data reported on in this paper emerged from a broader study that aimed to understand the extent and nature of neurocognitive disability amongst homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The broader study found high levels of NCD which impacted on people’s ability to participate in society. As part of the study, qualitative information was sought regarding participant life experiences. A culturally safe and acceptable structure of “past, present and future” was applied to open-ended questions. Results Thematic analysis of the data identified four broad themes of i) normalisation of illness and disability; ii) trauma and loss; iii) socioeconomic disadvantage; and iv) hope and disempowerment. This paper reports on these themes and experiences, which occurred across the life span, intersected with NCD, and contributed to what we have termed ‘complex disablement’ amongst this cohort. Conclusions While causal links between life experience, disability and disablement are not always clear, our findings suggest that attempts to address homelessness must engage with this complexity. The application of holistic, intersectoral supports, which encompass culturally informed, community driven approaches are needed. Understanding the impacts of individual and intergenerational trauma is crucial to safe and effective service provision for this cohort.
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