Homelessness and Housing in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, First Nation: A Community-Based Project

Abstract: This article describes a study on home-lessness within a First Nation community (NEO FN), including the characteristics and reasons for home-lessness, the size of the at risk population, service utilization, the impact of homelessness and models of collaboration between agencies. An objective was to gather information for the development of a com-munity-based strategy for addressing homelessness, including the need and possibility of establishing transitional housing. The sample for the survey was 86 participants; it included men and women between the ages of 16 to 75. Twenty-seven people also parti-cipated in focus groups. 

A substantial proportion of the survey respondents had experienced homelessness in their lifetimes or within the previous year. Thirty-six (42%) survey par-ticipants self-reported homelessness; of these 24 (28%) met the definition of absolute homelessness. Over half of those who were absolutely homeless indicated that the main reason was unemployment or a lack of income followed by a lack of housing available to them. 

Despite a lack of housing available in the community, participants stated that families take care of their own members and usually find ways to provide accom-modation, consistent with the traditional values of the community. Participants believed that the need for new housing in the community as well as housing services were paramount. 

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