In 2017, the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition began a community-driven video project to learn about the experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals who have experienced homelessness, as well as the Housing First services that support them. At the February 2018 Community Gathering, we had the privilege of screening our film ‘A Film of Our Own’ which highlighted the stories of four Indigenous community members who had experienced homelessness.
In the weeks following that screening, the OAC, in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Advisory Board (on housing), advocated for specific needs of Indigenous people experiencing homelessness. As a result, a number of policy changes were made at the City of Ottawa, including housing allowance eligibility criteria and the use of the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT). These policy changes will have a positive impact on reducing barriers Indigenous people
face in accessing housing allowances and housing first support.
The video was presented at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Hamilton in November 2018, alongside the research team from Ne-Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora.
OAC acknowledges the support provided by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.
In 2018, as part of the “Point in Time” homelessness count, the results showed that 24% of the respondents identified as Indigenous.