Aboriginal Women and Homelessness: An Issue Paper

Aboriginal people are over-represented in the homeless population in Canada. The City of Winnipeg, for example, has the largest Aboriginal identity population of all Canadian cities. While 8.4% of the population (55,755 people) identified themselves as Aboriginal in 2001, estimates suggest that between 60-70% of the homeless population of Winnipeg was Aboriginal. The experiences of other urban areas is similar... The experiences of homelessness is different for Aboriginal women than for others. There are more women among the Aboriginal homeless population than are found in the non-Aboriginal population. In the GVRD, for example, 35% of the Aboriginal homeless population is female, compared to only 27% among the non-Aboriginal homeless population. Despite these higher proportions of Aboriginal women in the homeless population, services and programs are more oriented towards the male population. The availability of emergency beds and other services for Aboriginal women are limited even in the largest cities. In smaller cities and towns, services targeting homeless women are sometimes so constrained as to be virtually non-existent. (excerpt from the document)

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