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At Home in the North

Community Housing Canada

at home in the north
people, places, policies, prospects

Balanced Supply of housing

aging in the right place

At Home in the North

New Partners in Northern Housing and Homes

Principal Investigator

Dr. Julia Christensen, Memorial University of Newfoundland

The principal aim of this project is to build new and innovative partnerships to address a series of identified challenges for northern regions and communities working to alleviate homelessness and housing insecurity. The project is divided into six thematic focus areas, which were identified as priority areas by communities: supportive housing models, governance, northern housing design, programs and services, health, and metrics.

This project has three interrelated objectives:

  1. Identify knowledge gaps on northern homelessness and housing insecurity;
  2. Mobilize knowledge on northern homelessness and housing insecurity; and
  3. Identify opportunities for adapting housing and housing-related social service policies, programs and models for northern contexts.

For communities across the Canadian North, housing insecurity is an undeniable public policy priority and human rights issue. Communities report increasing social concerns resulting from the lack of quality housing and the rise of northerners experiencing hidden and/or visible forms of homelessness. Local governments and non-governmental organizations are actively involved in collaborative efforts to understand the contributing factors to homelessness, and work to provide necessary housing programs and services. Despite these efforts, research engagements with northern and Indigenous communities reveal deepening frustrations over a lack of funding, the limited housing and social services spectrum in northern communities, and the challenges of implementing southern policy and programs in northern contexts. These frustrations are compounded by a sense of isolation from territorial/provincial/federal governments as well as from other northern communities, and difficulties in connecting community- and university-led research with meaningful policy and programs.

The realization of the aim and objectives of this project necessitates interdisciplinary involvement from a range of researchers and practitioners working in direct, sustained collaboration with northern and Indigenous communities. The core partnership formed through this project is comprised of community- and university-based researchers and collaborators from non-governmental organizations, Indigenous governments and communities, municipal governments and provincial/territorial governments, and private sector stakeholders. Each project partner has experience leading innovative housing-relate research, participating in community-led research, and working with creative, community-based, and strengths-based research methods.

Outcomes of this partnership include both scholarly and societal outcomes, including: sharing and mobilization of knowledge from across a wide breadth of researcher and community experiences and disciplines; creation of new and enhanced research methodologies to identify opportunities for adapting housing policies, programs and models for northern contexts; contributing to the theoretical and practical understandings of homelessness and insecurity across the provincial and territorial norths; and, connecting disparate and isolated community and university-based research efforts to create a comprehensive and holistic way forward in culturally-relevant responses to housing insecurity.