The Roots of Homelessness

Two weeks ago, I wrote about an investigative series that CTV British Columbia was conducting on the subject of homelessness. Today, I want to follow up on that post. The series, called Off the Streets, covered a number of issues, including drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the special problems faced by homeless youth and single mothers. Mi-Jung Lee and Jon Woodward explored a number of solutions as well, focusing on supportive housing, sobering centres and programs to keep single mothers and youth off the streets.

Throughout the series, we heard that youth who had been through the foster care system, single mothers and First Nations people are particularly at risk of becoming homeless. What wasn’t mentioned is that these groups also face a higher risk of poverty or that as poverty increases in this country, so does homelessness.

It’s not easy to discuss poverty without running up against political and ideological differences. It can be safer to stick to the necessary work of finding strategies to help the people who have already found themselves disenfranchised.

Discussions about poverty in Canada are happening though, in the context of homelessness, but also in relation to poverty’s other consequences, like the toll poverty takes on the health care system and societal productivity levels. Here are a few links to some of these discussions:

Housing and Homelessness – CCPA
Child Poverty Statistics – CCRC
Poverty in Canada – The Economist

I hope that we can, as a culture, really commit to eradicating poverty and reducing income disparity, thus attacking the roots of problems like homelessness, crime and illness.

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4 thoughts on “The Roots of Homelessness

  1. Thank you for writing about this very important topic. Sadly, what you say is true, that it’s hard to discuss the issue of poverty without a clash of ideologies. It would be a good thing if even the most conservative and unfeeling amongst us would recognize that a little money spent on prevention now would mean a lot less money having to be spent on a “cure” later.

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