Learning Objectives

In this chapter, you are invited to consider the history of policies and politics that have led to homelessness in its current state in Canada. While tracing the winding twists and turns in the chronology, you are encouraged to reflect upon three key questions guiding this chapter’s learning objectives.


  1. We begin by taking a step back in time and asking, ‚ÄúWhat housing policy existed in the past?‚ÄĚ It is often useful to reflect upon what events came before to better contextualize and understand circumstances as they are now. The first section offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on how housing and homelessness policies were enacted historically.


  1. Following the review of housing policy in the past, our attention turns to more contemporary political and policy issues by exploring the question, ‚ÄúIs Housing First a solution to homelessness?‚ÄĚ Whether you are keenly familiar with the concept of Housing First already, or whether this is your first introduction, this section will offer you a unique and nuanced look at the impact Housing First has had on homelessness in Canada.


  1. In the final section, our focus expands beyond Housing First to explore the question, ‚ÄúWhat is happening with housing and homelessness policy today?‚ÄĚ There are many housing and homelessness initiatives currently underway at all levels of government and within local communities. Having worked through the two preceding parts ‚Äď obtaining both knowledge about historical housing policies and a deeper understanding of Housing First ‚Äď you will be well positioned to critically examine the contemporary policies being enacted in Canada today.


As you move through this chapter it is beneficial to keep in mind that homelessness exists in society because of decisions that are made by people in power. We may not be able to change the decisions that have been made in the past, but we can have an impact on the decisions that will be made in the future. Read on to learn more about where we have been and where we are now. Where we go next is up to all of us.


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Understanding Homelessness in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Kristy Buccieri, James Davy, Cyndi Gilmer, and Nicole Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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