Fostering Indigenous Best Practices Towards a Wholistic Systems Approach to Homelessness [2020]

This report explores the national shift in addressing homelessness through a “coordinated access” approach and its impact on Indigenous individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Launched April 1st, 2019, Reaching Home, Canada’s national homelessness strategy, has required that all Designated Communities (i.e., urban centres in Canada) have a coordinated access system in place by March 31, 2022.

The focus of the report is largely on the Hamilton context, but also provides insights from Indigenous service providers across Canada. The goal of this research was to provide an overview of coordinated access and its impact on Indigenous communities. It does not represent a comprehensive review of coordinated access procedures and does not provide the complete national picture. In reading this report, it will be important for Indigenous community leaders to contextualize the findings to their own cultures, traditions, and knowledges.

This report takes an advocacy-focused, grassroots level approach. It recognizes that local community consultations need to happen prior to the implementation of coordinated access systems. Input from local community members needs to shape how policies are created, rather than local communities having to adapt to policy directives. It provides an example of how Designated Communities should collaborate with Indigenous community members in a way that is Indigenous led.

Victoria Bomberry, Yvonne Maracle, Sara Mayo, Tristan MacLaurin, Cindy Sue Montana McCormack, John Ecker, Anika Mifsud
Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton – Indigenous Reaching Home Team, Hub Solutions, The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2020
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