There is a substantial and growing body of literature on homelessness in Canada. However, the large majority of research focuses on homelessness in urban areas and at the rural-urban interface. There is a paucity of information on homelessness in Canadas remote and northern communities. Labrador is no exception. To date, there exist only a few reports which address housing and homelessness issues in Labrador. These reports identify absolute, relative, and hidden homelessness as significant issues in the region. Further to this, there is also nothing in the scholarly literature on homelessness in Labrador.
As a result of this lack of knowledge about homelessness in Labrador, there is little information to inform policy and program development to better meet the needs of homeless Labradorians. This research aims to address gaps in knowledge about the nature of homelessness in Labrador.
The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay (HVGB) serves as the administrative centre for Labrador. It is a hub for those travelling within Labrador and between Labrador and Canadas major urban centres. Over the past year, the HVGB Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness (HVGB CAB) has identified the need for high-quality data on homeless populations and those at risk of homelessness. There is a recognised need to develop capacity to analyse data to understand the ways in which policy and planning issues affect the provision of services for homeless people in Labrador.
The Labrador Friendship Centre (LFC) plays a key role in providing services to homeless people in HVGB. Based on a housing first approach, the Housing Support Worker at the LFC provides services to homeless and at-risk, unstably housed persons in HVGB. The LFC also hosts the Housing Development Worker who coordinates knowledge and networks around homelessness in Labrador. The municipal government, provincial agencies, and non-profit organisations collaborate with the Housing Support and Development Workers to provide client-cent red services to homeless Aboriginal persons throughout the region. While there is a wealth of data collected by the Housing Support Worker, there are challenges in analyzing this data at the community level.
This exploratory study aims to build on the existing community capacity around data collection to enhance data analysis capabilities. It will also utilise the strong collaborative framework of the HVGB Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness (CAB) to develop programs and policy options based on knowledge gained from interviews with service providers, and key stakeholders/decision makers