What is Homelesssness?

Homelessness describes the situation of an individual, family or community without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means, and ability of acquiring it. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, unhealthy, unsafe, stressful and distressing. The Canadian definition of homelessness is divided into four typologies: Unsheltered, Emergency Sheltered, Provisionally Sheltered, and At-Risk of Homelessness.

Indigenous homelessness is not defined as lacking a structure of habitation; rather, it is understood through a composite lens of Indigenous worldviews. These include: individuals, families, and communities isolated from their relationships to land, water, place, family, kin, each other, animals, cultures, languages and identities. Importantly, Indigenous people experiencing these kinds of homelessness cannot culturally, spiritually, emotionally or physically reconnect with their Indigeneity or lost relationships (Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness, 2012).

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