A two-year pilot program in Edmonton is housing Indigenous youth, who were in foster care, in a new facility that provides ongoing support along with access to Elders and other cultural supports. Coinciding with the project is a research partnership with MacEwan University, University of Alberta, Niginan Housing Ventures, and A Way Home Canada.
This Indigenous-led community-based research began in October 2020 to chronicle the experiences of Indigenous youth in reconnecting to their culture and the land as well as to document the spiritual, cultural, and housing needs of Indigenous youth who are transitioning out of care. They are forming a research network with Indigenous youth, which will inform policymakers and developers on the creation of urban Indigenous housing initiatives across Canada.
Carola Cunningham from Niginan Housing Ventures described how this project embodies a participatory approach:
This project uses a Two-Eyed Seeing research approach. We are supporting the research team by providing access to Elders and other Knowledge Keepers who will advise them on the culturally appropriate ways to conduct the research. It is our intent to work in collaboration with the research team to contribute to the success of this project.
David French, who is the managing director of A Way Home Canada, spoke about the multi-faceted impact this project will have in Canada:
This project offers housing for families at risk of losing their children to the Child Welfare System and youth at-risk of homelessness because of compromised transitions from care… This is an extremely important policy and practice space given commitments to the TRC.