Project 3g

Housing and Being Homeless in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Updates on this Research:

May 26, 2011 - The report Homelessness in Yellowknife: An Emerging Social Challenge was presented and discussed in a panel presentation on Thursday May 26th, 2011 at the Council Chambers of Yellowknife City Hall.  Report author Nick Falvo and report co-sponsor Arlene Hache of the Centre for Northern Families presented the findings of the report.  The report has been posted on the Homeless Hub website with more details and the CBC radio and news coverage of the event.  This includes the following information and can be accessed through their website by clicking on the highlighted item below or visit their website at

June 9th 2011 - Nick Falvo interviewed by the French language, NWT based, weekly magazine "L'Aquilon".

{pictureRef ("homelessness in yellowknife cover", align:"left",border:"0")}  Research Report released at a Public Presentation in Yellowknife on May 26, 2011 in Yellowknife.
Homelessness in Yellowknife: An Emerging Social Challenge
Nick Falvo.

Report on Homelessness in Yellowknife, CBC Radio Interview, May 26, 2011, featuring Nick Falvo and Arlene Hache

"GNWT should house homeless" - Editorial in the Yellowknifer featuring comments from Nick Falvo

Pictures of Nick Falvo and Arlene Hache's presentations can be found here

Homelessness in Yellowknife - CBC News [VIDEO]
Report on Homelessness in Yellowknife to be Released Today - CBC Radio
PhD candidate gives GNWT 5 tips on helping the homeless
Dr. Frances Abele and Nick Falvo, have also written a short article on homlessness amongst Indigenous people in Canada's North.  It appears in the current edition of Parity and is co-authored with their community partner, Arlene Haché (Executive Director, Yellowknife Women's Society). Please click here to access the article.

Presentation of Nick Falvo at the ACUNS and IPY Student conference held in Whitehorse, Yukon October 2-5, 2009 "Homelessness and Affordable Housing in the Northwest Territories"


Research Team Members

Frances Abele, Carleton University

Arlene Hache, Centre for Northern Families, Yellowknife, NT

Nicholas Falvo, Doctoral student, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University Ottawa, ON Email:

The purpose of the research project is to document the role of social economy organizations in responding to homelessness in Yellowknife, to consider the role of public institutions in supporting these organizations and responding to homelessness, and to explore the factors that homelessness in Yellowknife. The researchers will describe the set of social economy organizations whose work responds to the needs of homeless people, as these organizations have evolved over the last fifty years. Their relations with each other, with different segments of the homeless or at risk population, and with federal and territorial programs will be considered. In addition, the project will analyze: (1) the policy and program context of housing and income security programs within a historical perspective; (2) the interaction between housing in Yellowknife and housing in the other communities in the NWT; (3) different and similar difficulties faced by women and men; and (4) political and economic factors that contribute to homelessness in Yellowknife and associated communities. Using a literature review (including policy documents), key informant interviews, and statistical data, the researchers will prepare a report on housing and homelessness (including an analysis of state-social economy relations) in Yellowknife, and a primer on housing in Yellowknife for use by the general community. In addition, Falvo, Hache and Abele will make conference presentations as is appropriate for dissemination of the results. Falvo will also prepare journal articles, directed towards a Canadian public policy or northern research journal. Abele and Falvo will approach policy think tanks concerning possible publication of some of the results, as a way of drawing further attention to the issue.

Project Description
The project will identify the key social economy institutions that are relevant to homelessness in Yellowknife. It will explore how these organizations interact with public policies and the changing needs of the homeless population. It will document the factors contributing to homelessness in Yellowknife, with attention to the interaction between housing in Yellowknife and the other communities of the NWT and the particular problems faced by Aboriginal and Inuit women.  As this project is intended to be a companion study to a concurrent study of the impact of colonialism and the intergenerational transmission of harm on Northerners who are homelessness, the project proposed here will focus on the policies, programs, laws and regulations - as well as the economic factors -  that create and sustain homelessness in Yellowknife and associated communities.

The purpose of the study (jointly with the companion study on the psychological dimension) is to uncover the main factors contributing to homelessness, to publicize these, and to develop practical recommendations for the elimination of homelessness. It is most relevant to the State and the Social Economy theme. It studies the effect of past and present policies for their impact on the social economy �in this case, on the organizations engaged in providing social housing, emergency support, and general support to people in need. Since most housing in the Northwest Territories has historically been social housing, a survey of particular modes of ownership and the attendant regulatory regimes is needed. The study will contribute to a better understanding of the role of social economy organizations in an important area of social need and to our knowledge of the dynamics of their relationships with the territorial, municipal and federal states.

The research will have a minor comparative dimension, contrasting housing and homelessness policies and programs in the Northwest Territories with those of other Canadian jurisdictions.  The project will use a number of lines of evidence to develop a full analysis of the policy environment that affects housing and homelessness in the NWT.


Literature Review:

                                    There is a substantial body of work on northern housing and homelessness, though no studies exist that address the specific goals of this project. The secondary literature review will be used to develop a chronology of major events in NWT housing provision since the 1930s, to develop an initial understanding of key policy issues today, and to sketch the contemporary legislative and policy framework.

Initial Key Informant Interviews:

Interviews (telephone when appropriate, and in-person) will be conducted with homelessness and other community workers, with housing providers and with public servants to develop a preliminary understanding of the main factors affecting housing and homelessness in Yellowknife.

Statistical analysis:

Data from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and Statistics Canada will be used to provide contextual information about housing and homelessness, about residential construction patterns, and general economic factors that might affect homelessness.

Targeted investigation:

The initial stages of research outlined above are expected to yield a set of "scenarios" or situations that can be seen to reproduce homelessness as a social condition. Hypothetically, these may be fairly simple ( example: "There is a shortage of low income housing in Yellowknife") or they may be more complex ( example: "Homelessness among women is an indirect and unintended consequence of changes to the control of housing in predominantly Aboriginal communities following the implementation of a modern Treaty.")  In the final stage of the project, targeted investigations will be undertaken to validate the scenarios and to develop remedies.

Communication Plans

Completion of PhD thesis and also at least two academic articles, and one report that we will offer to a public policy think tank such as the Institute for Research on Public Policy, where Abele is a research fellow. It is anticipated that at least one of the academic articles will be a sole author publication by Falvo. The student will present their research at the Association of Non-profits and social economy research conference that is held in conjunction with the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences each year.

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