Our home, our way of life’: the meaning and context of northern homelessness and housing (in)security
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Our home, our way of life’: the meaning and context of northern homelessness and housing (in)security

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NAHO Speaker series, March 1, 2012...

NAHO Speaker series, March 1, 2012

Julia Christensen, PhD

SSHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow University of British Columbia

Research Associate Institute for Circumpolar Health Research

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  • Housing policy and families - here I mean both conflicts between housing policy and peoples’ desire to look after family members, but also the relationship between housing policy and child welfare - lose housing, lose children

Our home, our way of life’: the meaning and context of northern homelessness and housing (in)security Our home, our way of life’: the meaning and context of northern homelessness and housing (in)security Presentation Transcript

  • ‘ Our home, our way of life’: the meaning and context of northern homelessness and housing (in)security
    • Julia Christensen, PhD
    • SSHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow University of British Columbia
    • Research Associate Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
  • PhD thesis research
            • Homeless in a homeland: housing (in)security and homelessness in Inuvik and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
            • 2007-2011
  •  
  • Pop. 3,430 Pop. 18, 510
    • Context-dependent
    • Frames our understanding of what homelessness is and how it occurs
    • Housing vs. home
    Housing (in)security
    • Factors contributing to housing insecurity in the NWT
    • Home/land (Turpel 1991)
    • Family as ‘social fabric’ (Brant Castellano 2002; Menzies 2009)
    • Cohesion of community (Stairs and Wenzel 1992)
    • ‘ Home’ is multidimensional (Hulse and Saugeres 2008)
    Meaning of ‘home’
    • Factors contributing to housing security in the NWT
    • Northern housing insecurity = absence of ‘home’
    “ When the government took our land, bush camps and traplines away, they took away our homes. That was our home, that was our way of life.” - Sarah, Aboriginal support provider, Inuvik
  • Mona’s story Mona’s story Mona’s story
  • “ My family at [in my home community], they’re doing good now. They want me to move back and stay with them and get better. But if I leave [Yellowknife], I leave my kids. I can’t do that. My kids are everything to me.” - Mona
  • David’s story David’s story David’s story
  • “ I have no idea [what ‘home’ means]. I really have never had a home, never felt at home. So it is a weird thing for me to talk about.” - David
    • Fractured family and community
    • “ At home when I’m on the land”
    • Legacy of intergenerational trauma
    “ There has been so much change”
  • Collective and individual experiences of ‘homelessness’
    • Distinction between ‘rootlessness’ and ‘rooflessness’ (Somerville 1992)
    • “ Spiritual homelessness” (Memmott and Chambers 2008) - relevant to the northern Indigenous context
    • ‘ Place’ and ‘belonging’ integral to health (Thornton 2008)
    • Early rootlessness, loss of wayfinding results in key vulnerabilities to homelessness - distinctively tied to family and community
  • Northern housing and social policy landscape
    • Core housing need
    • Uneven geography of key institutional services
    • Housing policy and families
    • Child welfare
    • Correctional system
    • Patchwork of mental health and addictions treatment options
    • Homelessness pathways can be read differently
    • Policy conflicts with “home/searching” (Tucker 1994) or
    • “ home/journeying” (Mallett 2004)
    Northern housing and social policy landscape
    • Family and community supports
    • Role of housing in family, community, and mental health
    • Supportive housing
    • Trauma-related treatment
    • Moving forward as a community
    The journey home
  • Mahsi Cho! - Quyanainni! - Thank You! - Merci!
    • To all research collaborators, the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO),
    • and to:
    • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
    • Brant Castellano, M. 2002. Aboriginal family trends: Extended families, nuclear families, families of the heart. Toronto, ON: Vanier Institute of the Family.
    • Hulse, K., and L. Saugeres. 2008. Housing insecurity and precarious living: an Australian exploration. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
    • Mallett, S. 2004. Understanding home: a critical review of the literature. The sociological review 52 (1): 62-89.
    • Memmott, P., and C. Chambers. 2008. Homelessness amongst Aboriginal people in inner Sydney. Retrieved online March 10, 2011 at: http://www.uq.edu.au/housingconference2007/docs/Memmott_Chambers_2ndAH RC2007.pdf
    • Menzies, P. 2009. Homeless Aboriginal Men: Effects of Intergenerational Trauma. In Finding Home: Policy Options for Addressing Homelessness in Canada, eds. J. D. Hulchanski, P. Campsie, S. Chau, S. Hwang, and E. Paradis. Toronto: Cities Centre, University of Toronto. Retrieved online August 18, 2011 at: http://www.homelesshub.ca/ResourceFiles/Documents/6.2%20Menzies%20-%20Homeless%20Aboriginal%20Men.pdf
    • Somerville, P. 1992. Homelessness and the meaning of home: Rooflessness or rootlessness? International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 16 (4): 529-539.
    • Stairs, A., and G. Wenzel. 1992. I am I and the environment: Inuit hunting, community, and identity. Journal of Indigenous Studies 3 (1): 1-12.
    • Thorton, T. 2008. Being and place among the Tlingit. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press.
    • Tucker, A. 1994. ‘In Search of Home’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 11 (2): 181–187.
    • Turpel, M. E. 1991. Home/land. Canadian Journal of Family Law 10: 17.