Tracker’s recent review on Minister Macklin’s speech in Canada at the World Indigenous Housing Conference noted:
Fourthly, renovations — which have been the focus of the NT intervention housing strategy — do precisely nothing to overcome the single biggest problem confronting remote Aboriginal housing. Overcrowding. (Tracker)
HH cannot agree.
YES new housing is desperately needed and…
YES this may reduce overcrowding.
BUT, work over the last 20 years has shown that new housing alone will NOT reduce the impacts of overcrowding.
First the new housing has to function, and this cannot be assumed without careful testing before the house is handed over to residents. This is currently not guaranteed in either the NT or the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
Next, all existing houses also have to function and be able to deliver the basic services required by residents. If existing houses are ignored and new ones built, residents will crowd into the new houses where there is a better chance of working facilities. Clearly some houses will be beyond renovating and poor quality renovations will not be useful either.
Overcrowding will not be reduced by only building new houses, merely shifted around the community. This was clearly shown to occur during the National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS) program that favoured new housing over renovation.
If the health impacts of overcrowding are to be reduced. More houses are needed in most communities and as importantly, ALL houses need to be providing health amenity to the residents now, and with essential routine maintenance, into the future.
Reducing the negative impacts of overcrowding is a big issue.
For more background on Overcrowding see the NIHG section.