Research Insights provide us with a better understanding of a variety of topics — in this case, to better understand the housing needs of Indigenous Peoples.
The following Research Insights focus on the housing needs of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people as well as the role of public housing in a northern community.
All of this research was done by Indigenous organizations for Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous housing: Policy and engagement
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) carried out an environmental scan that assessed the impacts of housing and homelessness on Indigenous women, two-spirited and gender-diverse people. The scan was followed by a national online survey and face-to-face engagement sessions on housing issues affecting Indigenous women and gender-diverse people. Respondents provided input from a culturally relevant, gender-based perspective.
The study revealed that the unique challenges faced by Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people must be heard when developing housing strategies and solutions in all phases of development — from construction and maintenance to housing governance.
The study also has important findings on tackling institutionalized discrimination and improving safety, access to services and the importance of kinship.
Analyzing the impacts of affordable housing in Clyde River, Nunavut
Prism Economics and Analysis studied how investments in public housing have impacted a community in Nunavut on a range of socio-economic conditions. The study included detailed survey data from a pilot community, the hamlet of Clyde River, on Baffin Island.
The survey found that the public housing investment in Clyde River improved satisfaction in housing across all aspects, but serious frustrations around access to community services and economic opportunities remain. For example, the waitlist for public housing remains long, with most respondents staying on the waitlist for more than 3 years.
To evaluate community impacts, the community-level data collected during the study were compared with public housing inventories provided by Nunavut Housing Corporation. The extent of overcrowding in each community was measured by the total population per occupied housing unit since public waitlists reflect both need and whether new homes are to be built.
The study found that public housing investment is critical for most Nunavut communities, where incomes are too low and construction costs too high to drive private investment. It also revealed that public housing is strongly correlated to better labour force participation, employment and physical health as well as lower crime rates.
Ottawa Inuit women’s housing and shelter needs assessment
According to the Canadian Census the number of Inuit living outside of Inuit Nunangat — the Inuit homelands — has been growing rapidly. Between 2006 and 2016, the Inuit population increased by 29%, while the proportion living outside Inuit Nunangat grew by 62%.
More than half of the Inuit population living outside of Inuit Nunangat live in larger metropolitan areas like Ottawa-Gatineau, Montréal and Edmonton.
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada researched Inuit women’s needs for shelter and long-term housing and their experiences and challenges in accessing affordable housing. It also examined the current state of housing and shelter available to women and children. It developed a research methodology and survey tools that can be replicated in other Canadian urban Inuit communities.
The project was guided by 8 Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit values and Inuit research principles. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is a unique body of knowledge established over thousands of years by Inuit living in the Arctic and northern Canada. It means “that which we know to be true” in Inuktitut.
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