Over 80 per cent of surveyed Camp Namegans residents self-identified as Indigenous. Namegans Nation/Facebook

One third of Victoria’s homeless population identifies as Indigenous

Figure appears in the latest edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs published by the Victoria Foundation.

A new report shows that one third of Victoria’s homeless population identifies as Indigenous.

This figure appears in the latest edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs published by the Victoria Foundation. By way of comparison, about five per cent of the population in Greater Victoria identifies as Indigenous.

RELATED: Victoria organization says homelessness needs to be seen through an Indigenous lens

According to the 2018 Point-in-Point Homeless count, 1,525 people experienced homelessness in Greater Victoria on March 15, 2018. Of those individuals, 906 participated in a more detailed survey, with 33 per cent identifying themselves as Indigenous.

In other words, it is possible that the share of Indigenous people among the local homeless population is actually higher than it appears.

The same survey also found that almost 80 per cent of the surveyed individuals had been homeless for more than six months in the past year.

It also found that 83 per cent had been living in Victoria for more than a year.

Looking at demographics, 17 per cent of survey respondents were youth aged 15 to 24, while almost 20 per cent were aged 55 years and older. Notably, almost four of 10 homeless seniors first experienced homelessness after the age of 55. In short, many seniors living on the streets now once had steady access to housing, suggesting that financial stress and other events late in life contributed to their current status.

RELATED: Vital Signs report breaks down Greater Victoria statistics

These figures appear in the report’s section on housing, where the authors gave Greater Victoria a grade of C-minus. The report combines published secondary sources, with survey results.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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