Real Life Scenario

As you learn about homelessness and the complex ways in which it is experienced, we encourage you to begin with this real life composite scenario. Take a moment here to pause and consider this person‚Äôs experience. 


Liam is a 59-year-old male who has come into the community centre in the downtown area of a large city. The centre is a place where folks who live homeless can drop in for a meal, wash their clothes, and find toiletries, extra clothing, and bedding. Liam has frequented the centre for 3 years off and on. When he comes‚ÄĮin,‚ÄĮhe meets with one of the Social Workers, Tanya. The Social Worker‚Äôs role is to provide case management: assessing Liam‚Äôs needs and arranging, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating his connections to various services to determine if his needs are being met. Tanya has found her work with Liam very challenging over the past year as he has moved around a significant amount and attends the centre for a bit and then disappears for weeks on end. In the past 6 months he has lived under a local overpass, stayed with a friend for a month and has been in and out of one of the local shelters during the winter months. Liam hasn‚Äôt had access to phone/internet connection and his identification has expired. Tanya has set Liam up with free legal assistance, a Nurse Practitioner, government income assistance, and a local housing organization.‚ÄĮAll of‚ÄĮthe case workers at these agencies have connected with Tanya to see if she can find him, as he has missed appointments and they have lost track of him. As she sees Liam come in, she knows she needs to make a positive connection today to try and re-establish assistance. 

Reflection Questions

With this scenario fresh in your mind, consider these reflection questions. You may wish to record your answers before moving on to the next section. We will return to this scenario again at the end of the chapter. 

Reflection Questions

  • Why do you think Liam has not been able to attend his scheduled meetings with his legal worker, Nurse Practitioner, government income worker, and housing worker, even if he needs the help?
  • If you were Tanya, what steps would you take with Liam to try to support him in connecting with these services?
  • Tanya works in a busy community centre where many people need services. How should she balance the demands on her time, as she tries to support Liam and the other clients?




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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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