Project 14

Housing and Homelessness in Labrador

Project Complete, 2012

Final Report - Housing and Homelessness in Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Research Team

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Rebecca Schiff, Community Health and Humanities, Labrador Institute of Memorial University  rschiff@mun.ca

Collaborators and Students 

  • Denise Cole, Housing Development Coordinator, Labrador Friendship Centre, Happy Valley Goose Bay,
  • NL Gioia Montevecchi, Masters student, Community Health and Humanities, Memorial University of Newfoundland gioia.montevecchi@mun.ca

Abstract

To date, there exist only a few reports which address housing and homelessness issues in Labrador. All of these reports identify absolute, relative and hidden homelessness as significant issues in the region. In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, at least 87% of the homeless population identifies as Aboriginal. Further to this, htere is also little to no information in the scholarly literature on homelessness in Labrador. As a result of this lack of knowledge about homeslessness in Labrador, there is little information to inform policy and program development to better meet the needs of homeless Labradorians. The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay (HVGB) serves as the administrative centre for Labrador. It is a hub for those traveling within Labrador and between Labrador and Canada's major urban centres. It is a primary location for offices of the provincial government, Nunatsiavut government, Nunatukavut, and Labrador Grenfell Health. Inuit and Metis commmunities along Labrador's Atlantic Coast, and the Innu First Nation communities of Sheeshatshui and Natuashish, utilize HVGB for essential services. This research will be conducted in HVGB to address significant gaps in knowledge about the nature of homeslessness in Labrador. The research will accomplish this through analysing intake and case management data for persons using housing support services in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The research will also conduct interviews with key informants from: comunity-based organizations; government agencies and private stakeholders.

The Labrador Friendship Centre plays a key role in providing serv ices to homeless people in HVGB. Based on a "housing first" approach, the Housing Support Worker at the LFC provides services to homeless and at-risk,. unstably housed persons in HVGB. The Friendship Centre also hosts the Housing development worker who coordinates knowledge and networks around homeslessness in Labrador. The municipal government, provincial agencies, and non-profit organizations collaborate with the Housing Support and Development Workers to provide client-centred services to homeless Aboriginal persons throughout the reigon.  While there is a wealth of data collected by the Housing Support Worker, there is diminished capacity in the cmmunity to analyze this data, conduct interviews with key informants, and understand the nature of homelessnes in Labrador.

This exploratory study aids to build on existing community capacity around data collection to enhance data analysis capabilities. It will also utilize the stong collaborative framework of the HVGB Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness (CAB) to develop programs and policy options based on knolwedge gained from interviews with service providers and key stakeholders/decision makers.

Methodology

The approaches and methodologies in line with Canadian Tri-Council Policy STatement for Ethical Research with Aboriginal Peoples.  The work will involve Aboriginal community members present on the HVGB Community Advisory Board, and representatives of Aboriginal groups in Labrador in the design, collection, and analysis of data as well as reporting of resuls. Informed consent and strict protocol will ensure privacy and confidentiality for participants.   Denise Cole, co-applicant on this project, is a member of NunatuKavut and, as such, will provide expertise in guidng the development, implementation and knowledge dissemination.

The Labrador Friendship Centre Housing Support Worker currently utilizes a standard intake form to maintain informaiton about homeless clients that they serve. Data from these forms will be used for analysis to understand the nature of homelessness in Labrador. Prior to retrieving data from these forms, all identifying information will be removed.

Also planning to conduct semi-structured intervies with key informants including members of the HVGB CAB and key stakeholders from municipal, provincial and federal government, the private sector and community based service providers.

Interview participants will remain anonymous. An informed consent form will be presented to study participants before recording of data.  Research results will be vetted by Aboriginal research partners before release and publication.

Results Communication Plans

1. communicate results to government stakeholders, community-based organizations, the private sector and a wider audience

  • convene meetings with committees of stakeholders to discuss policy and program options to address homelessness issues in Labrador
  • A final report that will include - detailed description of methods/procedures, summary statistics from intake form data, results of interviews with key stakeholders, programs and policy recommendations for future housing and data collection procedures and analysis
  • Final data and results to be presented to and disseminated through the Happy-Valley Goose Bay Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness.

Publish results in peer-reviewed journals and present findings at scholarly meetings on housing and homelessness to inform the scholarly community of findings

http://www.yaffle.ca/a/viewProject/id/1678/

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