The onset of the pandemic disproportionately impacted older Indigenous residents in Toronto, highlighting an urgent need for increased support services.
Seniors are grappling with food insecurity, a gradual loss of independence, isolation, technological barriers, and mental health issues. This loss of autonomy is particularly linked to age-related health challenges, reduced mobility, and the complexities of navigating today’s daily life.
Wigwamen Incorporated, Ontario’s oldest urban Indigenous housing provider, is addressing this critical issue through its Family and Seniors Housing portfolio in Toronto. Wigwamen Terrace, one of the organization’s longstanding buildings, is home to 127 residents, 95% of whom are First Nation, Métis, or Inuit.
Through funding from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF), Wigwamen Incorporated is able to hire a Senior Tenant Resource and Support Officer (STRO). This role will provide support to tenants facing individual and collective hardships. The STRO will also facilitate connections between tenants and Indigenous organizations that offer language classes, cultural ceremonies, and other workshops to enhance the quality of living and cultural connection at Wigwamen Terrace.
Wigwamen’s roots date back to 1970 when concerned members met at Toronto’s Native Friendship Centre to address the pressing need for better housing for Indigenous people in the city. Over the years, the organization has expanded its Toronto Family and Seniors Housing portfolio, initiating support service projects not only for Wigwamen tenants but also for Indigenous individuals who are experiencing homelessness or are precariously housed and at risk of homelessness.
Archdiocese of Toronto