Indigenous residents experience homelessness disproportionately across Canada. Current economic factors are increasing on housing prices, inflation and cost of living. This, along with a housing and service system that is often colonial in nature, means there’s a critical need for more positive housing outcomes. Indigenous partners play a key role in addressing these issues. The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, with support from Urban Matters, will explore research. They’ll make connections to lead to culturally responsive programs that address Indigenous housing needs.
3 Key Goals
Understand the overall housing challenges experienced by Indigenous residents of the Central Okanagan.
Identify the housing and service needs of Indigenous individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Identify the service and cultural needs of Indigenous residents that would help them move from supportive housing to independent housing.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy was developed in 2018, with specific targets charting a path to bring homelessness in Kelowna to virtually zero within 5 years. For vulnerable Indigenous residents in the city, however, affordability and cost of living challenges are more urgent than ever before. Indigenous peoples within Kelowna and the Central Okanagan experience a higher level of homelessness than the general population. There is no alignment between their needs and the supportive housing options and culturally appropriate services in the community.
This research project is designed to listen to the voice of Indigenous peoples in Central Okanagan who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The research will fill critical gaps in knowledge by identifying:
- the scope of housing challenges Indigenous peoples experience
- their needs
- the needs of those moving from supportive housing to independent housing
The project will focus on the following research questions:
- How can organizations in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan best support our Indigenous community in achieving healthy housing outcomes?
- To what extent is supportive housing required specifically for homeless Indigenous individuals?
- What other associated services would strengthen housing outcomes?
- What supports or cultural services do Indigenous residents of non-profit (not supportive) housing need to improve long-term housing outcomes and ensure cultural safety?
The research will begin with a review of:
- existing literature
- best practices
- current housing statistics
- housing realities for urban Indigenous community members in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan
Researchers will also collect Indigenous best practices from across Canada.
Researchers will then meet with stakeholders and people with lived experience, aiming to understand the current Indigenous housing situation in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. They’ll also identify opportunities for future Indigenous housing development.
The result of the research, community engagement and journey mapping will be key recommendations to support Indigenous health and wellness on the Journey Home. This will set a path forward for Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations to strengthen culturally appropriate housing and service supports. They will be tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous residents of the Central Okanagan region experiencing housing challenges or homelessness. This includes those in supportive housing or non-profit housing.
Activity Stream: Program of Research
Title of the Research: Supporting Indigenous Health and Wellness in the Journey Towards Home
Lead Applicant: Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Urban Matters
- City of Kelowna
Search CMHC’s Housing Knowledge Centre for more information and updates about this research project.