Homelessness is a social issue that is complex and not unique to Thompson, Manitoba. For some, homelessness is simply caused by a shortage of affordable housing. While this is one component of the causes of homelessness, the north also has a long colonial history that has impacted Aboriginal peoples and communities. The legacy of residential schools, the 60’s scoop of Aboriginal children being placed into care as well as relocation due to hydro development are all aspects of colonization in northern Manitoba. Interconnected with this colonial legacy are the poor housing conditions and overcrowding in some of the surrounding communities, as well as addiction and mental health conditions. Whatever the underlying reasons, homelessness clearly results in the exclusion and marginalization of some groups in in a community of enormous potential.
A number of initiatives have already begun and are working towards reducing the number of homeless in the community. This study is a first attempt to provide a more accurate count of homeless people currently in Thompson. Such data is a cornerstone to understanding the magnitude and complexity of the problem as well as providing insight into possible future action. The Thompson Point in Time Count 2015 is built on previous efforts of the Community Advisory Board, the City of Thompson, agencies, universities and the community.
This research has more importance than just gathering "numbers". It is the outcome of working in partnership and community engagement around an issue that directly or indirectly touches us all. From the start this was a joint effort of local initiatives and the Federal Government to contribute to the development and wellbeing of a northern community. It is the result of directly working with homeless people and service providers in providing data for future development. With the engagement of different groups such as students and youth, this research will contribute to planting the seeds for future generations to continue finding venues to build a more inclusive and just society.
2016 Full Report
2015 Full Report