Indigenous people and those who were in foster care are disproportionately represented among those who are homeless, according to Winnipeg’s annual street census.
End Homelessness Winnipeg volunteers surveyed at least 1,250 people who were homeless in May of this year.
The results showed more than 60 per cent of those surveyed were in the foster care system before ending up on the streets, while those who identify as Indigenous made up just over 68 per cent.
Eighteen comes up as the most common age at which people are finding themselves homeless, according to survey volunteers.
When considering the resources available for those living on the streets, about 90 per cent say they were staying in unsheltered locations such as abandoned buildings, encampments, tents or vehicles. Fifty per cent say they are using resources such as shelters or other transitional housing options.
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In order to fix the systemic barriers that exist, Josh Brandon with the Social Planning Council says the community needs to change how it addresses the root of the homelessness problem.
“We can’t rely on a charity model to get us out of homelessness. We need to think about a bigger picture of what are the structural barriers to getting people out of homelessness and to ensuring we all achieve our dreams of having good quality housing.”
There are varied reasons for homelessness that require varied solutions, says Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, CEO of Siloam Mission.
“Whether it’s literally not enough dollars for housing, whether it’s leaving an abusive relationship, whether your housing was sold, whether you came into homelessness out of incarceration,” she told Global News of the many causes leading to homelessness.
Additionally, the report highlights the pandemic as a factor in homelessness with a number of respondents saying they struggled to keep their home due to a loss of income, rent increase or eviction.
Other major concerns that were listed were clawbacks from CERB and employment insurance.
– with files from Global News’ Drew Stremick and Sarah McCarthy
&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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