Portrait of Homelessness in First Nations Communities in Quebec

Portrait of Homelessness in First Nations Communities in Quebec

Being homeless, whether briefly or for an extended period of time, can be profoundly distressing for whoever undergoes the experience. Though Aboriginal people represent only 4% of the Canadian popu- lation, they make up a much higher proportion of homeless people in Canada (Sider, 2005; Bélanger and al., 2013).

“While making up 4.3% of the total Canadian population, Aboriginal Peoples form a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population in communities across the country. They make up 16% of the homeless population in Toronto, 30% in Ottawa, 46% in Saskatoon, over 60% in Winnipeg and over 70% in Regina. In Canada, one cannot really dis- cuss homelessness—and its solutions—without explicitly addressing Aboriginal homelessness.” (Gaetz, Gulliver et al., 2014, p. 60)

In Montreal, the homeless street count carried out on March 24, 2015, revealed that Aboriginal people represented 10% of the homeless population (40% of which were Inuit), though making up only 0.6% of the Montreal population (Latimer et al., 2015). This overrepresentation of Aboriginal people among the visible homeless population is a result of their heightened economic and social vulnerability.

This portrait is the result of an exploratory study on the phenomenon of homelessness in non-agreement First Nations communities in Quebec. The information provided herein are based on the findings of a literature review and a data collection survey conducted in 13 communities representing five First Nations in Quebec.

More specifically, the portrait exposes the different forms of homelessness found in the communities, while taking into account the issues related to hidden homelessness and the phenomenon of migration. For each form of homelessness, the portrait establishes the profile of at-risk individuals, identifies the principal factors that lead a person into homelessness or to remaining homeless, and estimates the extent or scale of the phenomenon among the communities.

ORGANIZATION: First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission