2. Politics, Policy, & Housing in Canada

A hand-drawn black and white sketch shows a person sitting on the ground in a public doorway. There is a sign on the building‚Äôs window advertising ‚ÄúFor Lease‚ÄĚ by the Housing Company.
This picture depicts the Homeless and the problems and solutions available
Artist: Makaya Moreau

On its face, homelessness seems like an easy problem to solve. If we just had more housing, no one would be homeless. There is a sort of logic to this idea, that if we increased the housing supply then we would not have a problem anymore. However, like most things in life, it is just not that simple. Complex problems rarely have easy answers, and homelessness is a complex problem. While homelessness is always a housing issue, it is not only a housing issue.

Homelessness exists in its current state in Canada because of political decisions that were made in the past, and how it will exist in the future depends on the decisions that are made today. While homelessness may be felt at a very personal level, its roots can be found in the decisions that are made by political parties. The power to effect change rests with ruling bodies, but this power is not absolute. Indeed, the power to influence change comes not only from the top down, but from our society at large. We have seen change come from organized groups, such as social movements and non-profit organization leaders. Tracing the politics and policies of housing is a key consideration in understanding homelessness in Canada today.

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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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