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The Effects of Discrimination of Refugee and Migrant Housing Needs

Housing is one of the nine foundations identified in the National Settlement Services Outcomes Standards (NSSOS). This standard is achieved when appropriate, affordable and long term housing is available and close to both social and community supports and to available employment.

The standard recognises that achieving this standard is needed to meet the other NSSOS. And it recognises that newly arrived communities are at high risk of homelessness and exploitation in the rental market.

Refugees and migrants often struggle to find appropriate housing. This can be because there are long waiting lists for public and social housing while, at the same time, there is a shortage of affordable and appropriate private housing stock.  Even when housing is available, new migrants can face discrimination that is based on cultural racism and a lack of understanding of the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families. This bias can add to other forms of discrimination, for example, where migrants have large families, have low incomes and/or rely on Centrelink benefits.

Housing is essential if people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are to settle successfully. This paper, produced by SCoA, points to research that explores the barriers to accessing housing and their effects on refugees and migrants and shows that Australia is not meeting the standard.

The paper indicates that Australia, as a host country, is not meeting its obligation to make sure that appropriate and affordable housing is available to new refugees and other migrants.