Indigenous households are more likely to rent rather than own their own homes, and many live in overcrowded conditions, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Indigenous Housing Indicators 2003-04 is the first report in what will be an annual series used to monitor progress under the Housing Ministers' 10 year commitment to improve Indigenous housing-Building a Better Future: Indigenous Housing to 2010.
The report includes data on a range of factors including overcrowding, dwelling condition, affordability and homelessness.
It shows that in 2002 just over 30% of the estimated 165,700 Indigenous households in Australia were homeowners, and almost two-thirds lived in some form of rental housing in 2003-04.
Twenty eight per cent rented from private landlords, 23% from state or territory housing authorities and 15% rented from Indigenous or mainstream community organizations.
For all Australian households, 70% were homeowners and 27% were in some form of rental housing.
In 2004 there were 34,442 dwellings provided through the Indigenous specific housing assistance programs-12, 725 State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing dwellings and 21,717 Indigenous community housing dwellings. There were 551 Indigenous community housing organisations in Australia responsible for managing these Indigenous community housing dwellings.
The report also shows that over 1 in 20 Indigenous households lived in overcrowded conditions compared with less than one per cent of non-Indigenous households. The highest rate of overcrowding for Indigenous households was among those renting from Indigenous community organizations, where more than a quarter of households lived in overcrowded conditions.
'Overcrowding can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases and put stress on basic facilities', report author Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman said.
The report highlights data on Indigenous households living in dwellings with 'structural problems' which show that in 2002, 55% of households renting from Indigenous community organisations lived in dwellings with structural problems compared with 22% of home owners.
Dr Al-Yaman said that the figures about the state of Indigenous housing in Australia were very useful in providing a statistical basis from which to monitor progress under Building a Better Future.