One House Many Nations: A community first approach to address homelessness amongst First Nation youth

Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan

About Alex

Fundings
CA$525,580 over 5 years

Major partners
Dechinta, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Big River First Nation, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba

Abstract
The One House Many Nations (OHMN) interdisciplinary research team and its First Nations partners have brought an innovative community-first land-centred approach to the overrepresentation of First Nation youth in the homeless population. Youth living on-reserve with lived experience or who are at risk of homelessness join a team that designs and builds new home in their community, gaining new skills, experiences and relationships in the process. This approach can be adapted or rescaled for use in other First Nations, and may be particularly valuable because, in addition to providing an economically and environmentally sustaining solution to the shortage of housing on-reserves, it is designed to build capacity of both the community and individual First Nation youth to prevent and sustain exits from homelessness. The OHMN approach was developed in partnership with Opaskwayak Cree Nation, where a first home has been built and is now occupied by a formerly homeless young couple who participated in the build. OHMN, in partnership with OCN and representatives of three additional First Nations, has initiated a research project that will characterize the nature and causes of homelessness amongst First Nation youth; assess the impacts of this Indigenous community-led approach to homelessness on the housing trajectories of First Nation youth living on-reserve; and support adaptation and mobilization of this approach in other First Nations.