Housing ‐ Understanding Its Wholistic Relationship to Aboriginal Post‐Secondary Student Success


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This study examines the role of housing in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal students attending college and university in the urban area of Vancouver. The housing challenges and successes that Aboriginal students face on‐ and off‐campus and in single and family residences were documented.

Michelle Pidgeon, PhD
Assistant Professor,
Faculty of Education
Simon Fraser University

Published in: Education
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  • Survey Female 63%; Male 37% Single 56%; Married/in-partnership 38%; Divorced 5%; Widowed/separated 1% 52% of respondents had dependents Average age: 32 years College students tended to be younger; those with dependents were typically older e.g., BCIT avg age was 26 where as UBC as 35 (might also be explained by some at university were graduate students) Majority moved from within BC (48%); Outside BC (within Canada) 14% University students were more likely to move to attend school compared to college respondents Majority of students (63%) rented off-campus and also had roommates/family living with them– almost ¼ of students moved more than once since moving to Lower mainland (29% had moved once; 36% had not moved)
  • T HEMES: Family and community matters a lot Safety and security needs for housing are essential Need sense of community especially for students moving into city
  • T HEMES: Family and community matters a lot Safety and security needs for housing are essential Need sense of community especially for students moving into city
  • Housing ‐ Understanding Its Wholistic Relationship to Aboriginal Post‐Secondary Student Success

    1. 1. Understanding the Wholistic Relationship of Housing & Aboriginal Post-secondary Student Success Dr. Michelle Pidgeon, Assistant Professor Faculty of Education Presentation to National Housing Research Council Tuesday, November 3, 2009
    2. 2. <ul><li>Overview of AHRP </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Key Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>Outline Aboriginal Housing Research Project
    3. 3. Aboriginal Housing Research Project <ul><li>In 2003-2004, six post-secondary institutions around the lower mainland of British Columbia partnered together to look at Aboriginal student housing needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of British Columbia ( UBC ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simon Fraser University ( SFU ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute of Indigenous Government ( IIG ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Native Education Centre ( NEC ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Langara Community College ( Langara ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>British Columbia Institute of Technology ( BCIT ) </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Central Research Question <ul><li>What role does housing play in the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal students attending college and university in a large city? </li></ul>
    5. 5. AHRP Methodology
    6. 6. Data Collection <ul><li>Literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal student surveys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total 175 surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey return rate ranged between 12 to 25% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutional sharing circles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6 sharing circles ~ 4-20 students per session (N=56) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal student services and Native housing staff interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>8 staff interviews were completed </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Wholistic Analysis <ul><li>Major Themes </li></ul><ul><li>Helping or Hindering Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Family matters </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural relationships </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Community relationships </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Institutional Analysis: SFU Intellectual Helpful ✓ Access to info on the internet and from student ✓ service staff about housing Hindrance ✗ Not having accommodations ✗ Live on campus –commons’ sofa ✗ Psychologically stressful – can’t concentrate on learning <ul><li>Emotional </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Network of family and friends </li></ul><ul><li>at SFU campus </li></ul><ul><li>✓ Living close to campus </li></ul><ul><li>Hindrance </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Stress caused by lack of affordable housing </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Physical-emotional drain (e.g., moving frequently) </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Racism & Discrimination (single women; family) </li></ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>✓ 10 family spaces on campus </li></ul><ul><li>✓ positive image (e.g., dress to impress) </li></ul><ul><li>✓ Location (e.g., close to PSE & K-12) </li></ul><ul><li>Hindrance </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Lack of Transportation (searching) & commuting </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Financial (affordability; high rent) </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Lack of daycare; Not Child-Family friendly </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of privacy, space, and </li></ul><ul><li>quiet study space </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Lack of band funding </li></ul><ul><li>✗ Transition from rural to urban </li></ul>Spiritual Helpful ✓ Community-elders, children ✓ Ceremonies ✓ Respect- traditional territory; increase awareness ✓ Friendship Centre- West Coast Night ✓ Live closes to reserve- sense of community and culture Hindrance ✗ Different worldviews between First Nations and non-First Nations Community Importance of relationships Networking Multicultural landlords Family Security a priority Need for family housing
    9. 9. ACCESS <ul><li>Hindering </li></ul><ul><li>Limited funding </li></ul><ul><li>High rent </li></ul><ul><li>Racism </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of friendly-family housing </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Student initiative (e.g., being proactive) </li></ul><ul><li>Networks </li></ul><ul><li>Native Housing Societies (priority space for students) </li></ul><ul><li>On-campus housing- Aboriginal policy </li></ul>“ Our first and foremost goal is NOT the rent; It is their success and their program” Student Services Staff
    10. 10. Family Matters <ul><li>Hindering </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support for single mothers and extended family </li></ul><ul><li>Racism </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>On-campus family housing and Aboriginal family policy </li></ul>“ If I can not find a clean, comfortable, and safe place for me and my child I may have to move back home before my studies are complete” Aboriginal Student
    11. 11. Community Relationship <ul><li>Hindering </li></ul><ul><li>High rental costs </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of affordable housing </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of belongingness </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Caring landlords </li></ul><ul><li>Being near and with other Aboriginal peoples </li></ul>“ I am fortunate that Luma Native Housing helps me, without their help I would live in a crappy place” Aboriginal Student
    12. 12. Cultural Relationships <ul><li>Hindering </li></ul><ul><li>Racism </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Physical space for culture and ceremony </li></ul>“ I felt very much like because I was a young Native single mom, a lot of places turned me away” Aboriginal student
    13. 13. Final Conclusions <ul><li>HOUSING plays a key role in Aboriginal student RECRUITMENT and RETENTION! </li></ul><ul><li>95% of students indicated the importance of housing to their academic success </li></ul>“ It is so crucial, I’d stay in any house, I don’t care about the situation as long as I got a roof, bed, blanket, and bathtub…as long as I got that I know I can concentrate in school” Aboriginal student
    14. 14. Recommendations <ul><li>Preparing for the move </li></ul><ul><li>First Nations communities support </li></ul><ul><li>Students being proactive (e.g., housing resume) </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional support </li></ul><ul><li>Building relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Community-Institution-Housing Agency </li></ul><ul><li>Student involvement and representation at all levels </li></ul>
    15. 15. IDEAL Aboriginal Student Housing <ul><li>Intellectual </li></ul><ul><li>Learning commons </li></ul><ul><li>Quiet study space </li></ul><ul><li>Computer- internet access </li></ul><ul><li>Student governance </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-purpose space </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol and drug free </li></ul><ul><li>Child care near by </li></ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><li>Green Space </li></ul><ul><li>Gardening </li></ul><ul><li>Fitness room </li></ul><ul><li>Sound proof </li></ul><ul><li>Natural lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Health and school near by </li></ul><ul><li>Spiritual </li></ul><ul><li>Culture & Ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>Extended family </li></ul><ul><li>Elders  </li></ul>
    16. 16. All my relations <ul><li>AHRP website : </li></ul><ul><li>http://educ.ubc.ca/research/ahrp/ </li></ul><ul><li>AT:U2G website: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.aboriginaltransitions.ca/ </li></ul><ul><li>My contact info : </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(778) 782-8609 </li></ul>