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NFP to serve young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Adelaide centre

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student center in Adelaide

National not-for-profit community housing provider Aboriginal Community Housing Ltd (ACHL) has been selected as service provider by the SA Housing Authority to deliver services at the “Tika Tirka” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student accommodation in Adelaide’s central business district.

Jointly Australian funded by the State and Federal Government, “Tika Tirka”, means to “stay and learn” in Kaurna language, and provides young people from remote and outer regional communities with an affordable, safe and culturally appropriate “home away from home”, studying in Adelaide.

The state-of-the-art accommodation is set up to be home to 20 young people wanting to pursue post-secondary studies in a supportive environment, including vocational training (VET). The SA Housing Authority has run Tika Tirka since it opened in October 2019 and ACHL has taken on the property and tenancy management and resident support from 1 January 2021.

ACHL Chairperson Maureen O’Meara said forging a path of self-determination begins when our basic needs are met, and for young people especially, a stable home in a safe and supported environment is crucial for positive life outcomes.

“Connection to land, family and community plays a very important role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” O’Meara said.

“Giving young people access to a community where their values are shared and celebrated is a key ingredient in empowering young people to pursue their goals and aspirations.”

“Appropriate housing is vital to overcoming disadvantage, but sadly our major cities are not equipped to cater to the unique and nuanced belief systems and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This can result in barriers to employment and education, which can impede on an individual’s social, economic and emotional wellbeing over the course of their life,” O’Meara said.

ACHL will also work in partnership with cultural service provider Incompro to deliver culturally appropriate support services to residents living at Tika Tirka.

According to the last census, the employment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who completed Year 12 or equivalent was around 49% for those aged between 20 – 25, as compared to around 75% for non-Indigenous Australians.

“There are a multitude of reasons for barriers to employment for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The issues are often complex and are impacted by a range of social, cultural, financial and geographical factors,” said ACHL CEO Steve Bevington.

“ACHL, with the help of its partners, are proud to be part of the solution to empower more young people to determine their future through the Tika Tirka project. Our aim is that providing young people with secure housing will have positive flow on effects to employment, education, financial security and connection with culture. This will hopefully benefit many generations to come,” he said.

ACHL will work collaboratively with the SA Housing Authority over the next three and a half years to continue to develop the innovative accommodation program to achieve positive outcomes for residents, service delivery partners and government stakeholders.


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