Aboriginality, homelessness, and therapeutic landscapes of home: mapping the experiences of Aboriginal Housing First participants in Winnipeg

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Alaazi, Dominic
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Housing First is a psychiatric intervention model that addresses homelessness among people with mental illness. First adopted in New York City in the 1990s, the model has achieved the status of an international experiment. Most recently, the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched the At Home project as a pilot to test the effectiveness of ‘Housing First’ in five Canadian cities, including Winnipeg. The project was aimed at informing broader policy debates around homelessness, realizing its unique contextual dimensions in Canadian cities, including issues surrounding Aboriginality. Using the Winnipeg site as a case study, this thesis sought to examine the Aboriginal experience of the intervention. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with Aboriginal participants, key informants, and a focus group. After 2.5 years (average) stay in housing, interviewees reported a renewed sense of ontological security. However, the project’s dependence on private rental housing limited its creation of Aboriginal-specific therapeutic settings.
Aboriginal, Homelessness, Housing, Health, Winnipeg