Homelessness Factors

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"Race, gender, education - all of those things have an impact on how people become homeless." - Person with lived experience with homelessness

Homelessness is often the result of factors outside of one’s control. 

Some of these factors include:

  • childhood trauma, e.g. abuse, neglect, witnessing violence
  • lack of housing that is affordable
  • inadequate income supports
  • racism and discrimination
  • colonization of Indigenous Peoples
  • mental illness and addiction stemming from trauma
  • fleeing violence
  • aging out of foster care without support
  • family conflict
  • homophobia and transphobia experienced by youth within their family of origin
  • fire or flood

Root Causes of Homelessness

Three key drivers of homelessness are poverty, adverse childhood experiences, and impacts of colonization of Indigenous Peoples.

Poverty

Poverty is a serious issue in Canada and across the Health Unit region. It is driver of homelessness. Poverty can mean a person is one illness, one accident, or one pay cheque away from homelessness. 

Not having enough income is a barrier to finding and maintaining housing. In 2020, Nipissing District residents experiencing homelessness reported not having enough money to afford housing as the top barrier for finding housing.,[1]

Improving policies related to social assistance rates, employment, and minimum wage would reduce vulnerability for homelessness.  

Adverse Childhood Experiences

There are strong links between adult homelessness and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as abuse, neglect, witnessing violence, or living with household dysfunction.

ACEs and toxic stress contribute to several poor physical and mental health outcomes such as some forms of mental illness, problematic substance use, and homelessness.

Learn more: Infographic: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Homelessness 

Impacts of Colonization on Indigenous Peoples

As a result of colonization, Indigenous populations are grossly over-represented in populations experiencing homelessness across Canada.[2] 

In Nipissing District, in 2020, during a 24 hour Point in Time Count survey in Nipissing District, 42% of respondents experiencing homelessness identified as Indigenous or of Indigenous ancestry, and discrimination and stigma were listed as a top barrier to finding housing.[1]

Learn about: 

References

  1. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. (2021). Poverty. Retrieved from: https://homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/education-training-employment/poverty
  2. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. (2021). Causes of Homelessness. Retrieved from: https://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/homelessness-101/causes-homelessness
  3. District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board. (2020). Everyone Counts Nipissing District. Retrieved from: https://dnssab.ca/housing-services/everyone-counts-pit-count-2020/
  4. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. (2021). Indigenous Homelessness. Retrieved from: https://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/population-specific/indigenous-peoples
  5. District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board. (2020). Everyone Counts Nipissing District. Retrieved from: https://dnssab.ca/housing-services/everyone-counts-pit-count-2020/
  6. District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board. (2020). Everyone Counts Nipissing District. Retrieved from: https://dnssab.ca/housing-services/everyone-counts-pit-count-2020/

 

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