A Profile of Families in the Emergency Family Homeless Shelter System in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

A Profile of Families in the Emergency Family Homeless Shelter System in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Compared to the wealth of research on single homeless adults, there is little known about homeless families. This paper describes a study of 75 homeless families in Ottawa, Ontario, conducted in 2012-2013. This sample of homeless families includes a large number of newcomer families, including immigrants and refugees. Participants are poor and unemployed, but many are educated, and there is little evidence of alcohol or substance abuse. Nonetheless, participants report poor mental health and high levels of family stress. Whereas newcomer families tended to be larger and include more two-parent families than did Canadian-born families, there were no differences in the physical and mental health of the participants. These findings add to our growing understanding of homeless families and point to notable similarities and differences in homeless families in this city in Canada, and in the United States.

JOURNAL: Canadian Journal of Urban Research
VOLUME: 26
ISSUE: 1
PAGES: 40-51
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017
LOCATION: Ottawa, Canada