Homelessness, Urban Aboriginal People, and the Need for a National Enumeration


  • Yale D. Belanger Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies / Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge
  • Olu Awosoga
  • Gabrielle Weasel Head




urban Aboriginal, homelessness, pathways to homelessness, policy, mobility, churn, homeless count/census


The growing rate of urban Aboriginal homelessness is a concern in Canada, yet, to date, no national enumeration of the homeless community has been attempted. Consequently, policies implemented to guarantee vulnerable populations access to housing are being struck in the absence of reliable data. Obtaining good data on the prevalence of this homeless community is one step in improving our collective understanding and response to urban Aboriginal homelessness. According to our calculations, that homelessness is staggering: on any one night, 6.97 percent of the urban Aboriginal population in Canada is homeless, as compared to a national average of .78 percent. This paper highlights the academic and bureaucratic construction of homelessness while urging academics and front-line agencies to align their research agendas in order to help combat the issues that create homelessness in what is a uniquely challenging environment for urban Aboriginal individuals seeking services. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations that will assist in this matter.