Aboriginal Home Ownership

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There is an urgent need for safe, secure, appropriate and affordable housing for First Nations people as a fundamental building block for families moving out of poverty. The rate of home ownership of First Nations Australians is almost half that of non-Indigenous Australians, reflecting a legacy of intergenerational disadvantage. FISH works with First Nations people to break intergenerational cycles of poverty that cause homelessness and housing insecurity. (See FISH’s publication on Indigenous housing, in Sustainability Journal, here, and our TEDx UWA talk, here).  

FISH has developed a model to build safe, secure, appropriate, and affordable houses, designed using sustainable principles, with First Nations people. Each family will be involved in the co-design process and complete 200 hours of ‘sweat equity’ working on appropriate elements of their home construction, under expert supervision. They will then purchase their homes at 75% of the market value. Core features of the program include: 

  • First Nations people co-design and co-build their homes.
  • Open and transparent selection process.
  • Sustainable and renewable design principles.
  • Training and employment of First Nations people and their businesses.
  • Mentoring in financial literacy and management.
  • Removing barriers to access home loans (through working with IBA, major banks and Government).
  • Securing blocks of land at no cost or below commercial value.

FISH first piloted this concept in the remote East Kimberley with Bawoorrooga community; through the successful co-design and co-build of their beautiful, culturally and climatically-designed earth house, here.

FISH is now working with young Bindjareb woman, Jedda Salmon, and her family to build her home in the Bindjareb Region of South West WA. Jedda’s ancestors walked this land for thousands of years.

“I can’t believe I will finally see my home that I designed rise up out of the ground. My Dad and I can’t wait to help as we do our 200 hours of sweat equity to be actually part of building my home.” Jedda Salmon

Jedda has co-designed her home with FISH’s architect and partners, and will be completing 200 hours of work in the construction as ‘sweat equity’. This is the first generation of Jedda’s family that will not live in social housing. FISH also provides financial literacy support prior to, and following, the purchase of the house and land, which covers:

  • Weekly, monthly and yearly budgeting.
  • Building up a deposit.
  • Mortgages and costs of home ownership.
  • Repayment schedules and interests.
  • Understanding compound interest.

This is the second of 50 homes planned for the next five to eight years as part of FISH’s Aboriginal Home Ownership Initiative.

FISH is honoured to be delivering these projects in partnership with the following Aboriginal-owned companies in the construction industry:

  • Tjuart Architects;
  • Kardan Construction;
  • Wilco Electrical;
  • SML Painting Solutions.

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