Reducing Indigenous homelessness and displacement: A work-based study of the 'Return to Country' program in far north Queensland

Masters Thesis


Hunter, Gary. 2023. Reducing Indigenous homelessness and displacement: A work-based study of the 'Return to Country' program in far north Queensland. Masters Thesis Master of Professional Studies (Research). University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/yzwwx
Title

Reducing Indigenous homelessness and displacement: A work-based study of the 'Return to Country' program in far north Queensland

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorsHunter, Gary
Supervisor
1. FirstProf Marcus Harmes
2. SecondDr Lee Fergusson
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Professional Studies (Research)
Number of Pages101
Year2023
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/yzwwx
Abstract

When a person becomes displaced and homeless, there is seldom one cause. Homelessness is caused by multiple interwoven challenges and issues. This study examines the displacement and homelessness within Cairns (a regional centre) faced by members of discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities located throughout Cape York and the Torres Straits (hereafter respectfully referred to as ‘Indigenous’ people and communities). This research explores the experience of displacement and homelessness with a unique population in far north Queensland from the perspective of service providers, it then compares these findings with the associated issues encountered worldwide, including issues of police confrontation and adversity. The Queensland Police Service (QPS) facilitated Return to Country program (R2C program) was introduced to provide a viable option for Indigenous people stranded in Cairns, to cycle out of homelessness by returning home to their home community. The R2C program is intended to offer opportunities for Indigenous people to exit an unplanned lifestyle. The R2C program proposes an authentic framework that advocates for alternative solutions to mainstream homelessness. This qualitative study uses semi-structured interviews conducted with employees of organisations that have knowledge of the R2C program in order to assess it. The study embarked on a qualitative thematic analysis methodology used to explore participant experiences and values, with the intent of understanding localised homelessness and enhancing the existing R2C program. Finally, the study highlights the importance of sustaining the R2C Program as this program can impact the rate of Indigenous homelessness in the greater Cairns area. All organisations associated with the program indicated that they fully supported QPS’ involvement with the R2C program.

KeywordsIndigenous; displacement; homelessness; health; police; program
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020450499. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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