• Brandii Williams (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Report finds young Indigenous people are nearly three times more likely than their non-Indigenous peers to have experienced homelessness, lived in a refuge or in transitional accommodation and are twice as likely to have couch surfed.
Ryan Liddle

24 Sep 2020 - 4:58 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2020 - 5:31 PM

The report, by Mission Australia is based on the results of a survey of more than 1500 young Indigenous people.

Mission Australia CEO, James Toomey said the unique challenges and concerns expressed in the report shows more needs to be done to improve the wellbeing of young Indigenous people.

“All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families should have a safe and stable home. Our young people have made clear; it is time our Government developed a national plan to end homelessness with clear targets to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander homelessness.

Kungarakan man Professor Tom Calma AO has endorsed the report, saying more culturally and age appropriate support services co-designed and delivered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are needed.

“Policy leaders must be serious about reconciliation and enhancing the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and come together with them and prioritise tackling these issues with practical solutions,” he said.

From couch surfing to confident

21 year old Brandii Williams, from Melbourne told NITV News that she experienced homelessness during her mid to late teens, when she was also struggling with addiction.

"There were times when I was living on couches, or because of my addiction, I wasn't even sleeping," Ms Williams said.

"I left home when I was 14. I got into rehab when I was 19. So between those years there were times when I had places to live, and times when ... I was just living wherever I could live."

About a year ago, Brandii started working at Charcoal Lane, a social enterprise restaurant based in Melbourne, run by Mission Australia.

She said getting support and feeling connected in a culturally safe space was crucial in her recovery.

"I think it's great to work with Indigenous organisations, it creates that connection with your culture," she said.

"Working with Charcoal Lane was a massive part of my journey. Now I'm studying drug and alcohol counselling, I've got a casual job and I live with my friends. Things are great.

"Now I feel like a confident Indigenous woman with a voice. That's really empowering."