Displacement, Housing and Homelessness in Northern Manitoba Communities

Indigenous people1 are overrepresented among the homeless population in the northern region of Manitoba and the factors that are contributing to their homelessness and restraining their movement out of homelessness in urban and remote communities in the north are not well un- derstood. The main focus of the research was to explore the understanding of people with lived experience of housing instability and homeless- ness in order to deepen awareness and improve conditions for people in the region.

This research was developed in Nisichawayasi- hk Cree Nation and Thompson, Manitoba from 2018–2020. Using Community Based Participa- tory Research as our foundation we used par- ticipatory methods including interviews, focus groups and community cafés.

Participants attributed people’s mobility from their communities and into homelessness in theregion to housing issues, limitations of services, racism, impacts of colonization and domestic violence. The study shows several gaps identified by participants that included limited hous- ing options, inadequate housing conditions, lack of supports, services and resources for children, youth, women and families, long waiting lists for affordable housing, and lack of coordination of services. Our main recommendation is to create mechanisms to promote more collaborative work for programs and services and housing along with a regional plan for housing. In addi- tion, it would be helpful to develop a database of organizations, services, programs and resources that is accessible to the public. Participants also recognized the need for a broader conversation in the region about housing and the importance of providing services that respond to the genu- ine needs of Indigenous people.

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