Indigenous Research Peoples in British Columbia continue to face barriers in securing safe, adequate and affordable housing.
Research has shown that Indigenous peoples are more likely to have low incomes, live in crowded conditions and move with greater frequency. In 2011, approximately 23 per cent of Indigenous households in B.C. were in core housing need, compared to 15 per cent of the non-Indigenous population.
BC Housing recognizes the disproportionate number of Indigenous individuals or families who are homeless or living in core housing need. Addressing this issue is one of BC Housing’s strategic priorities.
Strengthening the sector – We partner with First Nations and Indigenous groups throughout the province to better understand housing challenges and priorities and to strengthen the Indigenous housing sector. This includes developing and implementing housing strategies and policies, performing home maintenance and repairs, and forecasting maintenance budgets.
Leveraging our experience with managing social housing, we have partnered on pilot projects with two First Nations. The projects focus on enhancing property management for the Nations and addressing culturally appropriate housing needs.
Indigenous youth and families – There are a disproportionate number of Indigenous youth in the foster care system. They comprise a large percentage of the homeless population and are a vulnerable demographic in B.C. While the challenges facing Indigenous youth are well documented, there is limited information on current housing support in B.C. designed to help at-risk Indigenous youth and their families.
To better understand how BC Housing and our partners can better support Indigenous youth, we interviewed several non-profit housing providers that serve Indigenous youth and/or Indigenous women with children. We're developing this research into case studies to help identify innovative housing models, best practices and key challenges.
Enhanced understanding – Obtaining detailed information on the Indigenous housing sector in B.C. can be challenging due to the relationship between on- and off-reserve communities and the lack of quantitative data on Indigenous housing needs and supply. We are reviewing available data to identify opportunities for improvement.
We are also at work on a number of research projects that will inform government and Indigenous housing providers both on- and off-reserve with data that can be used to address the disproportionate number of Indigenous Peoples who are living in core housing need.