Social Analysis Essay on Homelessness in Canada

Published: 2021-07-12
1705 words
7 pages
15 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Thesis proposal
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

It is not easy to come up with the number of homeless persons because the homeless population is very diverse and mobile. In some cases, the homeless persons are hidden. This makes it difficult to estimate the number of homeless people in Canada. Nonetheless, the federal bureau has come up with its findings regarding the state of homelessness in the country. Based on the report findings, at least 200,000 Canadian nationals are faced with homelessness at any given time of the year. At least 150, 000 individuals make use of homeless shelter in a particular year. On the same note, at least 30, 000 of them are homeless during the night. These statistics are based on federal estimates and based on the data of 2005. Homelessness is a global concern and is caused by some factors including catastrophic and economic causes. Therefore, this task sets out to examine, analyze, and evaluate the causes of skyrocketing homelessness in Canada.

Homelessness can be described as the inability of an individual or family to acquire adequate, stable shelter on a long-term basis (Margaret, E. et al., 2001)). Unfortunately, homelessness has been on the rise in Canada for decades. Several gaps still exist when identifying strategies to rectify this global crisis, with little to no acknowledgment from systemic resources. Many researchers conclude homelessness as an individual problem, through the measurement of risk factors such as; mental illness, substance abuse, crime, chronic health conditions, etc. As such, societal world views have become distorted, allowing ignorance and misguided information, generated by power and discourse. Ask yourself, when was the last time you approached a homeless individual as a product of our failing government, rather than a product of substance abuse? Unfortunately, due to our failing government system and lack of economic, political and social supports, the rise in homelessness, can almost be viewed as a societal norm.

To adequately assess the homelessness crisis in Canada, this project will include an analysis of the complex origins of homelessness, including mental illness, substance abuse, and victimization among other causes central to homelessness. This will be followed by an elaborate examination of the governments impact on the lack of affordable housing and inaccessible supports. Lastly, a closer evaluation of structural preventative strategies and sustainable action plans.

Annotated Bibliography

Gaetz, S. (2010). The Struggle to End Homelessness in Canada: How we Created the Crisis, and How We Can End It. The Open Health Services and Policy Journal.

This article acknowledges a period, following World War II, when Canadas homeless population was well controlled, governed by policy, adequate housing and supports for low-income and high-risk individuals. The author further recognizes the drastic decline in those same accessible resources and affordable housing beginning in 1980s and through 1990s, when severe economic disaster struck. Since this time, the author highlights a dramatic increase in homeless individuals, with recent, non-sustainable support from Canadian government officials (Gaetz, 2010).

During the examination of the governments position and efforts, this article found ideas such as; rapid transition out of homelessness by emergency response and prevention strategies. It argues that while the campaigning for these ideas, may appear glorious, they are often uncoordinated, poorly funded and structured on short term renewal policies.

The author concludes that Canadas government has dropped the ball with regards to the homeless crisis and suggests a shift in policy makers and stakeholders, to address the current economic trends, social supports and affordable housing issues (Gaetz, 2010).

This article provides an excellent overview and can be useful in directing the public towards advocacy and informed decision-making. This article is informative, in such that it provides a knowledgeable Foundation while demonstrating many of the historical high and low times in the economy, without slandering Canadas government. Unfortunately, this article dates, 2010. While still very useful, in conclusion, it would be interesting to learn of the authors insight on the 2017 affordable housing budget of $11.2 billion and how he anticipates the funds will be distributed.

Gaetz, S. Dej, E., Richter T., & Redman, M. (2016). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016.Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press

When tending to work, school or errands, people are often faced with the neglected problem of homelessness. Homelessness in Canada is a significant social issue that society must be aware of. According to a recent study by Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), at least 235,000 of Canadian experience homelessness in a year (Gaetz, S., Dej, E., Richter, T., & Redman, M., 2016). Many assume that homelessness is a self-inflicted problem that homeless people caused to themselves; however, this is not the case most of the time. In most situations being homeless is the result of accumulative factors that occur over time including individual and structural factors and systemic failures (COH, 2017). Structural factors include the lack of access to affordable housing and sufficient income, while some examples of systemic failures are the lack of aid and support for addiction and mental facilities, immigrants, refugees, and patients recently discharged from hospitals (COH, 2017). The effects of homelessness are far more alarming than many people assume. Thus it is important to come up with various prevention plans to try and end homelessness in Canada.

The authors of this article displayed a thorough research regarding the relating factors that cause and prevent homelessness in Canada. The article talks about the history of homelessness in Canada that was believed to have started during the 1980s, subsequently the decline of investment of housing affordability and the structural and economic shift. This article contains valuable information that will support the topic of homelessness that our group will be covering. With the mixture of statistics and research, the authors speak of the importance of the support of government, housing commitments, and the community to help prevent and stop homelessness

altogether. Furthermore, the article examines the reality for the homeless and how the prevention is among the top priorities to focus on.

Turnbull, J. Muckle, W., Masters, C. (2007). Homelessness and Health. Poverty and Human Development CMAJ, 177(9), 1065-1066 doi:10.1503/cmaj.07129

This article focuses on the medical effects of homelessness on the Canadian youth and how they need to be taken into consideration as the rest of the complex social problems. The author argues that homeless people often lack an access to medical services despite a high rate of illness among them.

The author concludes that to fight the crisis this must be considered as a major social problem and it should be our top priority. Furthermore, this issue must be removed from political control and people concerned with this issue must be collaborated to eliminate this problem. In this article, the author describes the causes of homelessness and its origin among people in Canada and also sums up the statistics in the country (Turnbull, Muckle, Masters, 2007). This article has proven helpful in gaining knowledge about the number of people that are homeless in Canada, with research to support their problem. Moreover, it will help us to understand the lack of interest that government and medical agencies have proven in eradicating this issue.

In my opinion, this article is very well written and highlights key points of individuals suffering from homelessness, that will be powerful to include in our final research paper. This article includes an honest perspective and the suggestions made by the author are meaningful and correct.

Margaret, E. et al., (2001). Homelessness Causes and Effects, Volume 3: The

The relationship between Homelessness and the Health, Social Services and Criminal Justice Systems. Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security.

The author of this article concluded on his research that defined homelessness as a condition in which families and individuals do not have stable, permanent and ability to own a house. In his findings, he determined that homelessness in Canada results from a lack of affordable housing or low disposable income among most Canadians. The same article highlighted other factors that contributed to the growth of homelessness such as a decline in investing in affordable housing and structural and economic shift. While it is unsafe to prepare analysis without appropriate comparative data sources, the author of this article confirms that if homelessness remains unattended, it will be more costly for Canada. This concludes and further clarifies the importance of Government, private sectors and non-profit organizations support to help minimize the effect of homelessness in Canada.

Turnbell, J, Muckle, W., & Masters, C. (2007). Homelessness and Health. Poverty and

Human Development, 177 (9), 1065-1066. doi:10.1503/cmaj.07129

In this article, the author interprets the statistical data regarding the homeless people according to different surveys. The author describes the victims of the homelessness and their causes. According to the data given in this article, children, recent immigrants, single mothers and underemployed are the primary victims of homelessness. Poverty, lack of social and family support, failed government policy, fetal alcohol syndrome, societal isolation, lack of resilience, psychiatric illness, and drug and alcohol addiction are all relevant variables of homelessness and are resistant to simple solutions (Lee B.A., Price S. T. & Kanan J. W., 2003). Furthermore, they may suffer from mental or physical disabilities such as HIV and hepatitis C, and the number of people with such diseases is higher among homeless than the housed population (Hwang S.W., 2000 & Boivin J.F., 2005). A review of the literature shows that the incidence of HIV among Canadian youth living on the street is 6.1 per 1000, as compared with 0.20 per 1000 in the general population (Boivin J.F., 2005). However, despite such higher rates of illness, homeless people most of the time face lack of effective health services.


Gaetz, S. (2010). The Struggle to End Homelessness in Canada: How we Created the Crisis, and How We Can End It.

The Open Health Services and Policy Journal. Retrieved from

Gaetz, S. Dej, E., Richter T., & Redman, M. (2016). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016.

Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press. Retrieved from, E. Kraus, D., Hulchanski, D. (2001). Homelessness Causes and Effects, Volume 3: The Relationship

between Homelessness and the Health, Social Services and Criminal Justice Systems

Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security. Retrieved from, J. Muckle, W., Masters, C. (2007). Homelessness and health.

CMAJ, 177(9), 1065-1066 doi:10.1503/cmaj.07129

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: