Elderly people of Aboriginal origin in Winnipeg: their struggle to secure safe and affordable housing
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Many elderly people of Aboriginal origin find themselves displaced as they move from rural reserves into unfamiliar urban settings. The majority are forced to relocate to cities for medical purposes and fall between the cracks of an already fragile support system. Responsibility for their needs, particularly in relation to housing, is not clearly assigned to band organizations or governments. They seek shelter wherever they can. Some move in with family members or friends. Others secure units in non-profits, while several reside in single room occupancy hotels or rooming houses. In Winnipeg, and throughout Canada, specific numbers and individual circumstances of this demographic remain relatively unknown. Preliminary research indicates many are living in unhealthy and unsafe environments. This study begins to document the situations and conditions in which elderly people of Aboriginal origin are currently living. This task is achieved through a review of pertinent literature and through empirical work in the form of focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Participants include elderly Aboriginals and officials from Winnipeg and across Canada. The thesis aims to construct a body of evidence which highlights the housing needs of elderly Aboriginals. It also aims to assist the Aboriginal Senior Resource Centre (ASRC) in supporting elderly people of Aboriginal origin in Winnipeg and concludes with recommendations for policy makers, arguing for immediate implementation as well as further study.