A Comparative Analysis of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Homeless Youth in Canada

Dunn, Katharine
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University of Guelph

In Canada, the level of Indigenous homeless people is eight times higher than it is for non-Indigenous people. However, there is little research comparing homelessness between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada. Analyzing the 2015 Canadian Homeless Youth Survey, informed by Strain and Social Control Theory, this study confirms that Indigenous youth are overrepresented in the homeless population. Moreover, compared to non-Indigenous homeless youth, Indigenous youth were found to be more involved with Child Protection Services and the foster care system. However, the overall conclusion from this study is that Indigenous and non-Indigenous homeless youth are similar in several measures of pre-homelessness adversity and the adversity they face on the streets. In addition, both groups of youth are severely disadvantaged compared to the domiciled population. It is recommended that a housing-first approach, along with better access to social services and services that take into account the cultural and historical differences of Indigenous youth, are necessary in order to reduce the numbers of homeless youth in Canada.

Homelessness, Youth, Canada, Indigenous, Social Control Theory, Strain Theory, Overrepresentation