How to Become an Aboriginal Housing Advocate


Becoming an Aboriginal housing advocate typically requires an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. You may also get into this field of work by having relevant experience working with the target population in a service delivery or advocacy capacity.


If entering this field interests you, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits:


• You have excellent research skills

• You have cultural awareness and sensitivity

• You have a keen interest in public justice and advocating for others

• You understand the connection between proper housing and community health

• You have extensive knowledge of the housing challenges facing the Aboriginal community

• You have extensive knowledge of possible solutions to housing problems facing the Aboriginal community


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an Aboriginal housing advocate. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as salary expectations, an outline of the skills you’ll need, educational requirements, a list of possible employer types, and much more!



Education Needed

You'll likely need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as First Nations Studies or Social Work. The educational requirements for this career can vary however, as some employers may prefer a master’s degree in one of the above-mentioned fields.


Employers may also choose to hire candidates who have not earned a bachelor's degree, in a relevant field or otherwise, provided they have many years of relevant work experience (such as working with Aboriginal people in a service delivery or advocacy capacity).





Skills Needed

In order to be effective in a career as an Aboriginal housing advocate, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:


• Excellent interpersonal skills

• Excellent research skills

• Proven ability to work as a member of a team

• Extensive knowledge of the housing challenges facing the Aboriginal community

• Extensive knowledge of possible solutions to housing problems facing the Aboriginal community

• Knowledge of agencies, treatment programs and supports for the Aboriginal community

• Knowledge of the history and culture of the Aboriginal peoples of the region in which you will be working

• An understanding of the connection between proper housing and community health

• Knowledge of current social issues related to insufficient housing, such as homelessness, mental health, and drug and alcohol addiction



Characteristics of Successful Aboriginal Housing Advocates

In order to realize satisfaction and fulfillment in this occupation, you'll need to have certain personality traits, including:


• Cultural awareness and sensitivity

• Maturity and emotional stability

• Enjoy counseling people

• Enjoy advocating on the behalf of others

• Responsible and accountable

• A firm belief in the need for social justice

• A customer-service approach to work activities



How to Get a Job as an Aboriginal Housing Advocate

Now that you’ve decided which area of advocacy you’d like to pursue and defined your prospective client group, you can begin to research advocacy offices (local or otherwise) that align with your interests. Once you’ve discovered an office that you think you will be a good fit for, and properly represents your interests, it is a good idea to contact them to arrange a visit or see if they have any volunteer or paid work opportunities.


Once you gain a volunteer or paid position within an advocacy organization, you can begin to sharpen your skills, and will have great exposure to current issues within your sector. This will help you further your future job prospects.




Who Creates Jobs in This Field?

Aboriginal housing advocates are typically hired by organizations that have a mandate that is related to increasing the health of Aboriginal communities, locally and/or nationally, by advocating for secure and well-maintained housing for aboriginal populations. Such organizations may include:


• Community-based charitable organizations

• Family and social service agencies

• Non-profit national health agencies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government agencies 



Putting it all Together: Steps for Becoming an Aboriginal Housing Advocate

To sum all of this up, here are the essential steps you’ll need to take to become an aboriginal housing advocate:


Step 1 - Check if you’re well suited

Do you have cultural sensitivity? Do you enjoy counseling others and advocating on their behalf? Make sure it’s a “yes” to these questions.


Step 2 - Get into school 

Start to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as First Nations Studies, or Social Work.


Step 3 - Get relevant experience 

While you're in school, get a job working with Aboriginal people in a service delivery or advocacy capacity.


Step 4 - Get a job with an advocacy agency

Research advocacy offices (local or otherwise) that align with your interests, and get a hold of the hiring manager to speak about your interests.





Details of the Career: Job Description

Aboriginal housing advocates are dedicated to addressing the housing needs of the local, regional or national Aboriginal population and helping in all aspects of locating permanent secure housing, moving or re-housing. Their work may focus on on-reserve/reservation or off-reserve/reservation housing for Aboriginal populations. It may also focus on homeless or displaced Aboriginal populations, or the Aboriginal population at large.  


Those that work on-reserve/reservation are responsible for ensuring effective management of housing projects for First Nations people within specific provinces, states and territories. This involves acting as a liaison between Aboriginal community members, leadership, and federal and/or regional government agencies.


Those that work off-reserve/reservation are primarily responsible for assisting the aboriginal community find and secure suitable housing by developing and referring various housing resources, support, services and programs within the specified region.


Aboriginal housing advocates (whether on or off-reserve/reservation) might also work with the Aboriginal population on culturally appropriate referrals and advocacy to help them access service and supports through a variety of agencies and treatment programs.


They are also responsible for helping to raise awareness about important issues faced by the Aboriginal community by organizing and facilitating presentations, workshops, vigils and other events.



General Job Duties

Although the job duties of an Aboriginal housing advocate can vary depending on the specific responsibilities of their job, and the mandate of their employer, they are generally responsible for the following:


• Document relevant housing data such as age, gender, employment, addictions and hidden homelessness

• Research, network and develop various housing resources, support, services and programs within the specified region

• Assist the Aboriginal community with access to other agencies and programs

• Collaborate with community partners and homeless service providers

• Act as a liaison and build partnerships with landlords, agencies and health care providers

• Maintain connection and support once housing secured

• Facilitate community programs and presentations in order to raise awareness of Aboriginal housing and health issues



Typical Salary Level

The salary level of Aboriginal housing advocates can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The region in which they work

• The size and type of their employer

• The level of services they provide


There is no salary information available specifically for the career Aboriginal Housing Advocate from reliable sources. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.


Salary in Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Social Workers occupational group earn an average salary of $72,251 per year.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Social Workers occupational group is $45,900 per year. 




Aboriginal Housing Advocate Jobs

Our job board below has "Aboriginal Housing Advocate" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.





Typical Working Conditions

Aboriginal housing advocates are often based in an office, but also work extensively out in the community. They typically work normal, weekday working hours, although they may be required to work evenings, holidays and weekends. 



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Aboriginal Housing Advocate, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


• Community Outreach Coordinator

• Indigenous People's Human Rights Coordinator

• Social Worker

• Sustainable Housing Policy Associate

• Youth Advocate



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become an Aboriginal Housing Advocate career guide:


• “Occupational Profile: Social Worker.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved August 11, 2016.

• “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social Workers.” (May, 2015). United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 10, 2016.

• “Job Posting: Aboriginal Housing Advocate.” (n.d.). Our Place Society. Retrieved August 10, 2016.



Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships applicable to becoming an Aboriginal Housing Advocate can be found on the following pages:


Criminology Scholarships

First Nations Studies Scholarships

Philosophy Scholarships

Social Work Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors for This Occupation

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an Aboriginal housing advocate. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Aboriginal Housing Advocate