ASCHH Aboriginal Plan
Aboriginal people are over-represented amongst Calgary’s homeless. While great strides have been made to reduce overall homelessness in Calgary, according to Calgary’s homeless counts, the numbers of Aboriginal people on our streets and in our emergency shelters has not decreased and may in fact be growing.
Aboriginal homelessness is not the same as homelessness for non-Aboriginal people. Structural determinants associated with colonialism such as the Indian Act, treaty making, residential schools, and the ‘Sixties Scoop’ have resulted in systemic discrimination and generations of trauma for many Aboriginal people.
There are many healthy and vibrant Aboriginal communities and many Aboriginal people whose experiences growing up have led to heathy, productive relationships and families. The purpose of this Plan however is to examine and discuss the complexity of issues that have led to the unique nature and experience of homelessness for many Aboriginal people we see today, and to articulate creative strategies and solutions to address these experiences.
Focusing on the individual pathways of homelessness alone (addictions, mental and physical health, family violence, etc.) is not adequate if we wish to truly improve the situation for Aboriginal people in Calgary. If it was, the efforts that already exist due to Calgary’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness would have created a measurable decrease in Aboriginal homelessness as they have for the general homeless population.