Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) was established in 1973 as a national network of hostels providing affordable and culturally appropriate accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Today, AHL still fulfils that role, but with an increased emphasis on supporting Indigenous people to achieve better economic and social outcomes for themselves and their families, working in partnership with other organisations.
AHL is a company wholly owned by the Australian Government. It operates within the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) portfolio. AHL has an independent non-executive Board of nine directors.
AHL’s vision is to work with government, business and communities to help close the gap between Indigenous and other Australians in education, health, employment, accommodation and quality of life. Its key purpose is to improve Indigenous quality of life through the delivery of hostel accommodation to enable access to education, employment, health and other services.
To meet the diverse needs of Indigenous people, AHL provides a range of hostel services in the following categories:
- Transitional / homeless - caters for homeless young people and adults, helping people develop life skills to enable them to live independently
- Homeless - caters for Indigenous people who are without any accommodation
- Indigenous Youth Mobility Program – supports young Indigenous people aged 16 to 24 to do trade apprenticeships, traineeships and tertiary studies by providing a place for them to stay if they need to move away from home to access these
- Tertiary education and training - provides subsidised accommodation to facilitate the opportunity for students to pursue further education and qualifications by relocating to larger centres
- Secondary education – supports Indigenous young people of school age who may need to live away from home in order to access education facilities
- Employment and training - provides accommodation for Indigenous young people or adults to access jobs or training
- Aged care - provides residential care for older Indigenous people particularly to those suffering from disabilities and chronic health problems, enabling residents to live in a supportive environment while continuing to live in the company of other Indigenous people
- Substance use rehabilitation - caters for Indigenous people participating in rehabilitation programs from the effects of substance use
- Medical - caters for Indigenous people who require accommodation while accessing medical treatment
- Renal - caters specifically for people who require access to treatment at local renal centres
AHL operates many hostels directly and also funds other community organisations to operate hostels through its Community Hostels Grants Program. In 2009–10, AHL operated 53 hostels and 14 Indigenous Youth Mobility Program houses and funded a further 51 hostels. Together, these services provided 2,900 beds every night across Australia and served around 8,500 meals each day.
AHL provides a culturally supportive network where most staff and all residents are Indigenous people. AHL is one of the largest providers of employment and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In June 2010, AHL had 559 employees, 78 per cent of whom were Indigenous.
For more information see the website of Aboriginal Hostels Limited.