Aboriginal housing study yields data & partnerships
A four-year joint U of S and community research project into solutions for the shortage of affordable housing for Aboriginal people in Saskatoon has issued a series of reports that point to this being a seminal Canadian study on the topic.
The Bridges and Foundations study, led by U of S Sociology Professor Alan Anderson, brought people from the University, the City of Saskatoon, Aboriginal organizations, community groups and home builders together to determine the barriers Aboriginal people face and ways they can be more successful in obtaining appropriate housing.
The study was funded by $1 million from the federal Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) program and $1 million of in-kind contributions from the other project partners. At the launch of the study in 2001, Bridges and Foundations represented the largest and highest-funded social sciences project CURA had ever funded.
On Feb. 18, the study announced to the news media that it had found Aboriginal poverty in Saskatoon is declining markedly as young people attain higher levels of education, more income through an increasingly broad range of occupations, and become role models.
“Saskatoon’s Aboriginal households on the whole remain quite poor, but the situation is changing quite substantially as education levels rise and Aboriginal residents become involved in a greater range of occupations, including business,” Anderson said.
Fifty-two per cent of Aboriginal residents in Saskatoon lived below Statistics Canada’s poverty line in 2001, but that was a major drop from 64 per cent in 1996.
The study has produced 40 research projects and Anderson said more data will be released on the project’s website in the near future, at: www.bridgesandfoundations.usask.ca/.
Anderson says the project succeeded in building partnerships among researchers and people in the community, and has spawned many sub-projects that will carry on more positive work.