Social Sciences

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Social Sciences help us understand the various roles and impacts of people in society. While there are many subjects within the Social Sciences, this part contains chapters on Sociology & Crimino-Legal Studies, and Social Work. As you work through these chapters you are encouraged to think about what these disciplines can add to our understanding of homelessness in Canada.


Perhaps as you read this, you are considering a career that relates to the Social Sciences, such as a Social Policy Analyst, Police Officer, Lawyer, or Social Worker. The chapters in this section are designed to help you think critically about some of the questions you may encounter in these fields of employment. Understanding homelessness will help you navigate situations and choices you may have to make. Consider for example a scenario in which you are a Social Policy Analyst who must decide whether to recommend implementing a by-law that bans sleeping in a public park after 10pm. The choice you make will be influenced by your understanding of the by-law’s impact. This choice will also influence decisions that have to be made by Police Officers [such as whether to use discretion not to issue a ticket under the by-law], Lawyers [such as whether to take the case of a client who faces jail time for not paying these tickets and does not have money to pay for representation], and Social Workers [such as how to help the client navigate the legal and justice systems].


Before you begin, pause to consider how you would respond in each of the roles of the scenario above. With the knowledge you currently have about homelessness in Canada, would you recommend implementing a by-law that bans sleeping in the park at night? Would you issue a ticket if you were a Police Officer who came across someone sleeping in the park? Would you take their case, if you were a Lawyer and a person who was ticketed came to you for help but could not pay for your services? If you were a Social Worker and had limited resources, where would you go to connect your client with community legal supports?


You are encouraged to keep this scenario in your mind as you read through the next two chapters and ask yourself whether any of your responses change, or are reaffirmed, after learning more about what the Social Sciences can teach us about homelessness in Canada.


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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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