family member or intimate partner, putting them at greater risk of poverty and economic insecurity (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c). They often experience discriminationfrom landlords and service provides. (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c) Indigenous women often experience residual and generational trauma due to their experiences of colonialization and residential schools, and there is a shortage of trauma-informed mental health and addictions supports to address this trauma (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c). They experience greater rates of social exclusion and isolation, and many Indigenous women fallinto a life of crime (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c).One of the most notable contributing factors to homelessness among Indigenous women is the experience of gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c). One cannot examine homelessness among marginalized and victimized women without also examining issues of violence and housing safety (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c). Indigenous women and girls are twice as likely to experience violence and three times as likely to experience intimate partner violence when compared to non-Indigenous women (Native Woman's Association of Canada, n.d. c). There is often a lack of culturally appropriate shelters for women who experience violence (Native Woman's Associationof Canada, n.d. c).My reason for pursuing a career in social work was my passion for working with women. I grew up very privileged and had never felt oppressed or marginalized until I was sexually assaulted about three years ago. Though this was the most traumatic thing I have ever gone through, it alsoignited my soul and propelled me into a career of helping women who don't have a voice in society. Under the ‘Housing' subsection of the Native Women's Association of Canada website, one statement really stood out to me "just as homelessness is multi-faceted so must be any response to addressing this social issue. A lack of comprehensive social policy that deals with theintersections between economics, social welfare, health care, justice, education, employment, and housing increase the challenges associated with addressing homelessness" (Native Woman's
Association of Canada, n.d. c). This statement stood out to me because I feel as though it sums up my current work. Each of my clients has experienced chronic homelessness for a variety of complex reasons. Technically, my role is a Housing First Intensive Case Manager, but my job consists of far more than just housing. I support my clients as they navigate the social welfare system. I accompany them to medical appointments, especially if they struggle to advocate for themselves. I accompany them to court or legal appointments. I support my clients as they seek higher education, I help my clients find employment, and so much more. I have learned that
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- Spring '16
- Test, First Nations, Inuit, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native Women's Association of Canada