A new report notes that child homelessness must not be seen in isolation of family homelessness, as homeless children are often connected with a parent or other caregiver. It is important to understand the experiences of the adult caregivers in these children’s lives, as addictions, mental and physical health issues, poverty, intimate partner violence and other challenges play a significant role for many of the families experiencing homelessness.
Putting an End to Child & Family Homelessness in Canada, a research report published in conjunction withRaising the Roof’s Child and Family Homelessness Initiative, shows a connection between youth and adult homelessness to living experiences as a child. Although there is much research on homelessness focusing on the adult or youth populations, family homelessness makes up a significant percentage of the overall homeless population in Canada. According to the report, families are also one of the highest risk groups for homelessness given the extreme levels of poverty, food insecurity and housing unaffordability in this country.
“Children who live in homelessness run the risk of doing poorly in school, developing negative health and mental health outcomes, having behavioural issues and struggling to exit poverty as adults,” says report author Tanya Gulliver-Garcia.
According to findings of the report, a number of components are needed in an inter-related framework that work together to prevent homelessness, including systems-based responses. This includes addressing related issues such as poverty, housing, and mental health, in a collaborative and cross-sectoral manner.
To learn more about the report and its recommendations, visit the Raising the Roof website.