Real Life Scenario

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


Tish is a‚ÄĮ32 year old‚ÄĮfemale who lives in and around the downtown area of a medium sized city.‚ÄĮ They have been living out of‚ÄĮshopping‚ÄĮcart, carrying everything with them since being released from hospital 2 years ago. They have a long history of depression and suffer with the chronic effects of an acquired brain injury (ABI). They were struck on the head with a hammer at age 26 during a domestic dispute. Their ABI causes weakness, stiffness, poor balance, and unregulated mood swings which lead to verbal aggression. Bystanders and first responders often mistake them for being intoxicated.‚ÄĮ

They camp in a rotating number of sites in the city, they set up‚ÄĮcampsite‚ÄĮat night and‚ÄĮhave to‚ÄĮput everything back in the shopping cart during the day. If they sleep late the police or city bylaw enforcement officers roust them, demand they move on, and issue them a $100 ticket for loitering. They cannot pay these fines.‚ÄĮIf they are not quick enough in the morning, the city confiscates their things, throwing them away. They are not welcome at local shelters due to their history of aggressive behaviour. Each of the shelters in the city‚ÄĮhave‚ÄĮa no tolerance policy for aggressive or violent behaviour, including verbal behaviour. Their Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) payments were revoked due to missed appointments and misunderstandings, therefore they have no money for shelter.‚ÄĮ 

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

  • What feelings do you experience when you read this scenario?
  • How have municipal bylaws impacted this person?
  • How have policies within social support agencies impacted this individual?
  • What do you think the government could do to help Tish in this scenario?


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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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