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Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness (ASCHH), Calgary, Alberta.
Yale D. Belanger, PhD
Across Canada, large and small urban centres are confronted with growing numbers of homeless individuals and a decreasing supply of affordable housing. Indigenous peoples in particular are disproportionately represented amongst urban homeless and in terms of the difficulty they experience trying to secure affordable and appropriate rental accommodations. Adding to this complexity, urban Indigenous populations occupy a policy vacuum characterized by variability in policy formulation, overlap and gaps in policy areas in different cities, and a mismatch between policy areas and community needs (Hanselmann 2001). Urban Indigenous housing concerns consequently remain a rarely and poorly addressed policy concern by both provincial and federal government officials, trends that are increasingly evident at local government levels. Developing findings that speak to possible intervention strategies is therefore this research project’s primary goal.
This project is a partnership between the Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness (ASCHH) and the primary researcher located at the University of Lethbridge. Formed in 1999, the ASCHH brings a voice to the urban Indigenous peoples of Calgary who experience, or who are at-risk, of homelessness, and remains dedicated to building real and sustainable solutions to housing and homelessness among Indigenous people in Calgary. This research project helps us better identify and understand the barriers that align with goal 1.1 identified in the ASCHH plan. That is, we intend to develop strategies to establish housing prevention strategies targeting “Aboriginal individuals and/or families living on or below LICO (Low Income Cut-Off) … who should be a main target group for receiving services and holistic supports.”