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.
Supplementary interview footage for this video is currently in final editing stages, and will be ready soon. This video will be presented at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Hamilton in November 2018, alongside the research team from Ne-Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora.
Additionally, the OAC, took an active role in the City of Ottawa’s ‘Point in Time’ Count, by facilitating training sessions on challenges in Indigenous self-identification, as well as the need for trauma informed cultural support. The OAC continues to support ACAB with community led research support, as well as advocating and raising awareness on urban Indigenous housing issues.
OAC gratefully acknowledges the support provided by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.