Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in the homeless population. Indigenous individuals remain vastly overrepresented in Edmonton’s homeless population – 51% of the individuals surveyed in Edmonton’s 2016 Homeless Count identified as Indigenous, compared to 5% of Edmonton’s general population.
The prevalence of Indigenous homelessness reflects the legacy of colonialism, intergenerational trauma, and residential schools, and results in both a physical loss of “home” and a sense of disconnection from social, spiritual, emotional, and physical relationships.
About 23% of Indigenous Edmontonians are in Core Housing Need (with First Nations Status individuals vastly overrepresented at 31.5%) compared to 10% of all Edmontonians.
Edmonton is a key Indigenous migration centre for surrounding and Northern communities. Edmonton is also an important access point for Indigenous community members who live on reserve and in surrounding rural areas and migrate for employment, educational opportunities, or access to services. While there is limited data on the extent of this migration, it is essential to understand Indigenous homelessness as a regional issue that extends beyond the city’s limits.