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RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

The role of colonization continues to negatively impact Indigenous Peoples today. Legislation and policies such as the Indian Act, residential schooling, harmful child welfare practices, and the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous Peoples has left a lasting legacy and resulted in historical trauma. Today there are three times as many Indigenous children in the child welfare system than there were in residential schools at their peak in the...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

LGBTQ youth disproportionately experience homelessness in Canada. Living with an unsupportive family can directly lead to homelessness, and without many services or any shelters specifically equipped to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth, many turn to the streets due to fear of homophobic or transphobic violence. There is a need for more research to document the complexities of coming out, forming one’s sexual and gender identities, as well as the...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Solutions to homelessness are often considered to be the responsibility of NGOs, government, and the individuals experiencing homelessness. Yet as homelessness affects everyone in society, it can be argued that solutions require action across all sectors. In short, homelessness is everybody’s business. Raising the Roof, a national Canadian charity, has embarked on a multi-year Private Sector Project, aimed at engaging a sector that has...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Many homeless youth do not have a high school diploma for a variety of reasons, such as frequent moves between home and school, significant life stress, and a lack of family support. Without a basic education, homeless youth are at risk of limited employment opportunities and poverty during their adult lives. Yet despite experiencing homelessness, some youth are able to continue participating in school, demonstrating resilience. Educational...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Young people who are homeless face considerable barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment. These barriers are best understood through the concept of social exclusion, or the degree to which individual experiences and histories overlap with certain social, political and economic conditions such as poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, sexism, racism and homophobia. These factors can restrict young people’s access to spaces,...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Canadian law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child define sexual exploitation as the exchange of any sexual activities by someone 18 years of age or younger for money, drugs, food, shelter or other goods and services. Giving a young person money or other things in exchange for sex is a form of sexual abuse and a violation of their right to freedom from sexual coersion. Homeless youth are at serious risk of sexual exploitation....

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Adolescence is an important developmental period associated with a need for increased nutritional requirements to foster growth and development. Chronically poor nutrition during adolescence can have negative health impacts over the lifespan and is associated with an increased risk of infections. Poor nutrition can also worsen conditions such as depression, substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Homeless youth face extreme...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Motherhood during adolescence carries its own set of challenges for those who are homeless including physical and mental health problems, risk of abuse, and suicidal behaviour. Teen pregnancy also carries higher risks for the newborns such as birth complications, and physical, neurological, and nutritional problems. Very little attention has been directed toward understanding the particular needs of homeless mothers. They are marginalized by...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

There is an abundance of research on homeless youth that looks at the causes and consequences of homelessness. Findings have been quite consistent in revealing that youth become homeless as a result of familial conflict, abuse and trauma, poverty, addictions and mental health concerns, and involvement in the child welfare system. Less is known about how youth are able to exit street life, leaving the picture incomplete. It is equally...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

This NCHE publication provides an overview of research on resilience as it relates to counteracting risk in at-risk children and youth, including children and youth experiencing homelessness. The concept of resilience has received increased attention recently in a growing body of literature that has reported not only the psychological and academic impacts of homelessness, but also has highlighted ways to strengthen the resilience of children...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Food and proper nutrition are critical for a functioning society and a healthy work force.  A healthy labour force leads to higher life expectancy, higher labour productivity, lower health costs, and an overall higher standard of wellbeing.  Food prices, in Ontario, have been increasing at a faster rate than social assistance benefits, forcing recipients to spend a greater portion of their allowance on food. Today, many Ontarians face poverty...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Studies have shown that at least half of the homeless population suffers from mental health issues, almost half of homeless people have substance use issues, and inmates who have a mental health problem are twice as likely as those without to have been homeless in the year before incarceration. Taken together, these factors make it extremely difficult for homeless persons with multiple needs to maintain housing. Housing services for homeless...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Poorly planned public housing developments tend to segregate and isolate poor people from the rest of society. Concentrated poverty is damaging to the health of cities and tends to produce high crime rates, violence and unemployment. Segregation limits the rights people to space, not only physical, but also political, social and economic space. Additionally and despite widespread housing policy implementation, it is unrealistic to assume that...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Changes in political, social, and economic practices over the past few decades (referred to in this chapter as neoliberalism) have shaped the way government and society at large view and address youth homelessness. These practices include reduced social support, increased individual accountability, particularly in regards to maintaining employment and managing personal finances, and greater reliance on the private sector to provide shelter,...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Research on street youth in Canada suggests these young people are heavily ‘at-risk’ of becoming involved in criminal activities. Street youth, however, become involved in criminal activities to different degrees, ranging from not at all to high rates of participation. The types of offenses they engage in also vary, and can include property crimes, distribution of drugs, and violent crimes such as robbery and physical altercations. Research...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Canadian literature has not fully uncovered the relationship between youth homelessness and mental health, and how they are related to both risks and resources present in pre-street and homeless circumstances. It is clear that homeless youth experience high rates of poor mental health, and that many youth are immersed in an environment characterized by substantial risk. Evidence suggests that many youth are subjected to tremendous adversity,...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Housing First is a treatment, service and social policy approach based on the idea that a homeless individual’s primary need is to attain secure and stable housing before other issues in the individual’s life can be dealt with. Its fundamental principle is that housing is a basic right, and should be made available regardless of whether individuals, particularly those with mental health concerns and/or addictions, desire treatment. Despite...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

In Ontario, youth between the ages of 16-18 can apply to the Courts to terminate a Society or Crown wardship order. Young people involved with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in Ontario commonly talk about “signing out of care” when they turn 16. This expression makes it hard to see the complicated institutional work that is involved in ending a wardship order with child protection services, not to mention the challenges youth face after...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Homeless youth in rural settings face unique circumstances including fewer housing options and services to meet their needs. They are frequently forced to leave their communities and social networks in order to receive services or find shelter. Moreover, research suggests that homelessness is often one of several traumatic experiences these young people will face in their lives. While understanding the causes of youth homelessness (such as...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Adolescent development is generally viewed as a gradual process that is guided by supportive adults, particularly family members. This focus shifts however, when we think about homeless youth and family becomes viewed as the ‘problem’, and youth are pushed to become ‘self-sufficient’. However, this oversimplifies the nature and composition of families and relationships. More importantly, it overlooks families as potential partners in working...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Over the last few decades, social policies and social services for people experiencing homelessness have focused on increasing their participation in the work force by addressing the factors that prevent full participation. These factors include drug and alcohol use and abuse, mental health, physical disability and a lack of human capital (the set of skills which an employee acquires on the job, through training and experience, which increase...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Housing that meets a broad range of needs is a vital part of any community’s social well-being. Housing is also an important contributor to economic performance with each constructed house generating approximately two person years of employment (equivalent of one year's worth of work for two people or two years of work for one person). For many Canadians, homeownership is not an option, and a growing number will need access to rental...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2013

Research has shown that homeless people suffer from high rates of physical and mental illness, substance use and addictions. Yet, even with universal health insurance, homeless people face barriers to accessing health care and social services to meet their needs. While there has been increasing interest in meeting the health needs of shelter users, there have been very few studies over the last ten years that describe the types of care...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

Canada is committed to energy efficiency as part of its national Green Plan, which addresses the environmental issues of climate change, and reducing energy consumption. However, lacking a national housing strategy, and with social housing provision responsibility downloaded to provinces and municipalities, home energy efficiency policies have not been well regulated nor have they been widely implemented. As such, many buildings are...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

Many middle and upper class households moved to the suburbs after World War II, leaving the downtown core to be occupied by lower income households, including homeless people. The suburbs provided both an escape from the “problems of the city” for those who could afford a car and a home, and a place for them to exercise their individual freedom in the form of private property. However, with gas prices and traffic congestion on the rise, and...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

People living with HIV most at risk of homelessness are women, Aboriginal populations and new Canadians. Housing is known to be fundamental to the health and well being of individuals, and therefore one of the most urgent unmet needs for people living with HIV. Many families affected by HIV experience near homelessness as a result of social and financial challenges. HIV positive parents experience a number of interconnected barriers to...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

One out of fifty children experiences homelessness at some point in their lives and the numbers are growing.  Along with the loss of a home, safety, well being and the satisfaction of supporting oneself are lost when one becomes homeless.  Single mother households are the poorest of all families and they make up the majority of homeless families.  Most homeless mothers have been sexually or physically abused at some point in their lives and...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

Between 340,000 and 440,000 people in Australia will experience homelessness over a given twelve-month period. Although the Australian government understands homelessness to be a preventable social problem and has set an ambitious goal to cut homelessness in half by 2020, current interventions mirror those that are in place in the UK and the US, which focus mainly on addressing the problem at the individual level, without regard for the root...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

Shelter service is a local response to the increasing number of homeless people in North America and Europe. The success of a shelter is commonly measured by looking at the shelter’s ability to limit the amount of homelessness, meet the immediate and long-term needs of clients, and help shelter users secure stable housing after leaving the shelter. Service delivery tends to be different from one shelter to the next and also varies within...

RESOURCE TYPE: Research Summary
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012

In recent years, type 2 diabetes has been on the rise among low-income Canadians. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body fails to use or produce enough insulin, resulting in high blood glucose. It’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks, and can result in blindness and chronic kidney disease. It can also be managed, if not prevented. Indeed, research suggests that poverty – one of the social determinants of health – is a...

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