This month is always very special to Find because not only is it Pride month, but it is also Indigenous History month.
We here at Find know that youth and adults who identify as twospirit, plus, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (one's sexual or gender identity), intersex, and asexual/aromantic/agender (2SLGBTQQIA+) and Indigenous face housing insecurities regularly for a myriad of reasons including rejection and discrimination. We are proud of the work being done across the housing and homelessness sector in regards to breaking down barriers for Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who are experiencing homelessness, but there is still more that needs to be done to support these populations.
Studies show that the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community are more likely to be low income than their non-2SLGBTQQIA+ counterparts (Badgett, Durso, & Schneebaum, 2013) and that 2SLGBTQQIA+ youth are over-represented in poverty statistics, with between 25 and 40 per cent of youth experiencing homelessness identifying as 2SLGBTQQIA+. That means that nearly 1 out of every 3 young person experiencing homelessness in Canada identifies as 2SLGBTQQIA+.
People who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA+ have housing needs that are different from those of other Canadians. They need to consider how their housing will:
- affect their access to social or medical services
- allow them to be part of an inclusive and welcoming community
These groups include youth, seniors, Indigenous people, newcomers, or people with mental health or addiction issues.
If you would like to learn more, the Homeless Hub & CMHC offer some great resources on the topic of 2SLGBTQQIA+ and housing.
It has also been noted that urban Indigenous Peoples experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate and make up a significant percentage of people experiencing homelessness in cities. Research shows that Indigenous homelessness in major urban areas ranges from 20-50% of the total homeless population. In Edmonton we know that 62% of participants on the By Names List identify as Indigenous, while 57% of of Housing First participants identify as Indigenous (According to the March 2022 data from Homeward Trust).
A lot of research has been done around Indigenous homelessness and a really great resource to access to learn more is the Indigenous Definition of Homelessness researched and compiled by Jesse Thistle which explores 12 dimensions to Indigenous homelessness. We recommend taking some time to read and learn through this document. You can also access more info here.
By addressing housing issues, we can help alleviate homelessness for these marginalized groups and support a wide range of other health and social goals. From education and employment to overall levels of health, happiness, productivity and well-being, accessible housing provides a better quality of life.
Find is proud to work alongside Homeward Trust and all the Housing First agencies across Edmonton who work tirelessly to breakdown housing barriers for 2SLGBTQQIA+ and Indigenous community members and create a safe space in housing for all.
At Find we make space to honor history, to honor those who have been displaced from their homes for no other reason than being who they are and to honor the work being done to break the cycle of trauma and displacement for these individuals. We will continue to amplify the voices of those advocating for safe spaces, affordable housing and equality for all on our social media platforms and in our stores, and we implore you, our great supporters, to take some time to honor the history of these populations and learn how you can best support and advocate for change and a safe place for everyone.
We are proud to announce that in May of 2022, Find was able to furnish 167 homes for participants in the Housing First program with donations from the community, helping 266 people start their new journey in a safe, comfortable space.
Let's continue to take care of each other in Treaty 6, and remember: There's no place like home.
Models: Gladys (Security), Maddie (Retail Associate), Annabella & Fen (Processing Associates)!
Chair artwork: Andrew, Housing First Furniture Bank Manager