Characteristics of Winnipeg’s homeless population not changing: street health report

By | February 20, 2019

CTV Winnipeg
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2019 3:53PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2019 7:06PM CST

An organization working to end homelessness in the city called for change Wednesday while releasing a report that showed in some ways, little has.

“Really, who’s dealing with homelessness in Winnipeg, the general characteristics, really hasn’t changed over the past ten years or so,” said Corinne Isaak, a coauthor of the 2018 Winnipeg Street Health Survey report, saying previous studies have found similar results.

The report compiled results of 406 interviews conducted between July and October of 2018 at emergency shelters and community agencies that serve people who are homeless.

“Again, approximately 70 per cent of the people we interviewed were of Indigenous descent. Nearly half of them had spent time in child protection services,” Isaak told CTV Winnipeg, noting reports of mental health concerns were also very high, with 65 per cent of respondents reporting they had been diagnosed with a mental illness during their lifetime.

Participants also shared information about how they access food, income and health services, how much sleep they get, and many other details of their daily lives.

Read the full report here:

Isaak said services and supports should be tailored to people’s individual needs. “Indigenous people, women, youth, all have different types of needs for housing and service.”

“One of the things we really need to look at it is using an Indigenous cultural lens in any kind of prevention or intervention strategies,” she said.

The report authors also recommend systems that provide services to those who experience homelessness should be integrated “for a coordinated approach to service access and homelessness prevention.”