Population Studies

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Population Studies is a broad term used to describe the examination of how groups of people’s experiences are shaped by personal characteristics they share. Within this part of the book, we examine the impacts of gender, sexual orientation, and juvenile age on the causes and experiences of homelessness. We begin with a chapter on Gender and Queer Studies, followed by a chapter on Child and Youth Studies. As you work through these chapters, you are encouraged to critically reflect upon what these disciplines contribute to our knowledge and understanding of homelessness in Canada.


Perhaps as you read this, you are considering a career that relates to Population Studies, such as a Counselor, Teacher, or Child and Youth Advocate. 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 have to make. Consider, for example, a scenario in which a teenager self-identifies as being transgender but does not feel comfortable disclosing their gender to their family or peers and instead engages in self-harm behaviours. As a Counselor or Teacher, you may be situated within a school setting where you spend full days with the student. What signs might you want to look for to consider whether a student is at risk or oppressed within their home environment? As a Child and Youth Advocate, you may meet the young person only after they have had significant conflict and left their home. Likely, they have also left their school. How will you provide this young person with the support they need? How will you help to protect their human rights?


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, why do you think one’s gender, sexual orientation, and/or age might impact the causes and experiences of homelessness? In the scenario, what might you do to reduce conflict within their family, discourage self-harm behaviour, and prevent the young person from leaving school and becoming homeless?


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 Population Studies 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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