Indigenous people are spending fewer nights in homeless shelters than non-Indigenous users, a finding from federal researchers who warn in internal documents that the result points to more problematic – or even insidious – issues in the country’s housing system.

The study found that no matter the community, Indigenous people were over-represented in emergency shelters, making up about 30 per cent of users despite only being about five per cent of the national population.

They stayed more often, but for fewer nights – almost five fewer nights per year, on average – which federal researchers say isn’t “necessarily a positive outcome.”