Homelessness among aboriginal people in Canada is just as much a spiritual state as it is physical, a York University researcher said Wednesday in his keynote address at the 2017 Homeward Trust Indigenous Gathering.
“We have to reconceptualize the way that we think about indigenous homelessness … it is about a series of broken relationships that have come through policy historically and contemporarily,” Jesse Thistle, Indigenous Partnership Lead with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, told those gathered Wednesday at the Ramada Edmonton Hotel and Conference Centre at 11834 Kingsway.
In Edmonton’s 2016 Homeless Count, 48 per cent of those surveyed identified as indigenous, a rate higher than the prevalence of aboriginal persons in the city’s overall population.
Building on their 2016 Edmonton Community Plan: Urban Aboriginal Strategy project, and using a community approach of respect, recognition and collaboration, Susan McGee, CEO of Homeward Trust Edmonton, said the gathering is “forward focused,” looking at finding specific, actionable strategies to address indigenous homelessness.
“Often, when we think about homelessness, we think of it simply as (having) a roof over your head or not, or just in terms of the state of your shelter. By looking at it differently and acknowledging the complexity of an individual’s experience, we can think longer term and in longer term solutions,”…
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