Real Life Scenarios

As you being to learn about homelessness and the complex ways in which it is experienced, we encourage you to begin with these real life composite scenarios. Take a moment here to pause and consider these people‚Äôs experiences. 


John is a 45-year-old male who lives downtown in a large city. During the day he can be found on the same street corner, outside a Tim Horton’s sitting with his dog Rex on a flattened cardboard box. He has an empty Tim’s cup in front of him and a small handwritten sign asking for money. He is often asleep or dozing and people walk around him without acknowledging that he is there. Some people drop change into his cup. John spends his nights walking the back alleys downtown attempting to avoid both the police and other street people. He knows that if he stops to try and sleep in a vestibule at a bank or in an underground parking garage he will be hassled by the police. He’ll be given yet another ticket he can’t pay.

Tasha and Raoul

Tasha and Raoul are a young couple. Tasha is new to Canada and her immigration status is in limbo. They are living in an old trailer parked in a wooded area on a field owned by an elderly farmer. The lot is 10 kilometers outside of a small rural town. They have no hydro and no running water. They have rigged up an outdoor shower using buckets of water from a nearby stream. They have four dogs. They rely on hitchhiking for rides into town as they have no other transportation.‚ÄĮ Tasha has a chronic health issue that requires daily medication. Her overall health is not good and not well managed.

Reflection Questions

With these scenarios 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 these scenarios again at the end of the chapter. 

Reflection Questions

  • What do you feel when you read these scenarios?
  • What do you think of when you think of homelessness?
  • Rural homelessness is often referred to as ‚Äúhidden homelessness.‚ÄĚ What do you think this means?
  • What are the similarities between the two scenarios?
  • What are the differences?


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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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