Aboriginals nearly 30 per cent of city homeless: survey

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By Joel OpHardt

More than a quarter of Hamilton’s homeless are aboriginal, a city snapshot of street people reveals.

“We only represent 1.3 per cent of Hamilton’s population, but well over 20 per cent of the homeless population,” said social planner Cindy Sue Montana McCormack. “That doesn’t surprise me at all.”

McCormack says major historical setbacks to aboriginals — including colonization, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop — are partly to blame for the way they keep popping up as alarming outliers in studies.

When a demographic has some of the highest rates of incarceration, medical problems and low-income earners, it’s not hard to imagine why there are so many homeless aboriginals, said McCormack, who helped organize the Point-in-Time Count in Hamilton.

On Feb. 21-22, volunteers counted the number of people experiencing homelessness in the city. It’s part of a national effort to get a better understanding of the problem in Canada and develop policies to address it.

Recognizing that Hamilton is the urban centre for major aboriginal communities such as Six Nations and Mississaugas of the New Credit is an important step, said Coun. Matthew Green.

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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