Urban Nomads in Edmonton: Moving As a Coping Strategy

This report is based on a qualitative interview and focus group study recommended by the housing intake workshop facilitators at the Boyle Street Community Services since a number of participants had been repeating the workshop several times. This latter was an indication that some individuals were not able to maintain the housing provided to them through the housing program. The study was to determine what the barriers were for individuals to maintain their housing. The report on findings are more narrative and aligned with the literature. For example, the term ‘urban nomads’ came out of Spradley’s work in 1970 to denote mobility, poverty, alienation and survival strategies. The application was made in this report to Aboriginal people migrating into Edmonton and experiencing the challenges of living in urban centres. Homelessness is one consequence. Barriers to preventing and coming out of homelessness consider the many factors impacting urban nomads, including affordable housing, social supports, funding, transportation access, trauma/injuries, children, violence, discrimination and incarceration. Housing needs to be more flexible for individuals who are homeless and particularly those who are urban nomads. More research is needed in this area.

Summary Credit:
Homelessness-Related Research Capacities in Alberta: A Comprehensive Environmental Scan, prepared by Dr. Katharina Kovacs Burns, MSc, MHSA, PhD and Dr. Solina Richter, PhD, RN for The Alberta Homelessness Research Consortium (2010)

Publication Date: 
Edmonton, AB, Canada