Volume 08 Issue 04

OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development
Open access peer-reviewed journal 

Poverty, Homelessness and Migration in Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Carol Kauppi,a Henri Pallard,a and Emily Faries b
aLaurentian University, bUniversity of Sudbury

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg.11-22, 2015.

Abstract: This special issue describes a multi-year community-university research alliance that explores issues related to poverty, homelessness, housing and migration in a vast region within northern Ontario, Canada. This introductory article explains the approach to the methodology used in the project and provides and an integrative perspective to the studies undertaken. The six articles presented in this special issue are placed in a broader context and briefly summarized. The articles deal with poverty, migration, period prevalence counts of homelessness, studies conducted within two First Nations and a theoretical perspective on the use of public space by homeless people.

Keywords: First Nation, urban Indigenous, homelessness, migration, northeastern Ontario, space.

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Homelessness in Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Henri Pallarda and Carol Kauppia
aLaurentian University

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 23-36, 2015.

Abstract: Homelessness has been described as a crisis within Canada; yet little published research has described the extent and nature of homelessness within communities in northeastern Ontario, Canada. A period prevalence count was conducted of the homeless population using emergency shelters, social service agencies, and other services in the City of Timmins, in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The total homeless population (high-risk and absolutely homeless) identified in the study (n=720) included 257 infants, children and adolescents under age 15 even though the majority of homeless people were adults. Overall, more than a third of homeless people reported Indigenous background. The most frequently reported source of income was the Ontario Disabilities Support Program (31%). Taken together, the central reasons pertained to structural and systemic problems of unemployment, problems with social assistance, and the lack of affordable housing accounted for the largest proportion of homelessness. Absolutely homeless people made up close to a third of the homeless people who used the services of the participating agencies. Nearly half were women. Children and youth up to the age of 19 comprised half of this population. When the number of women with children and youth under age 20 are combined, they constitute about two-thirds of those who are absolutely homeless in Timmins. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential for raising awareness of this issue at the local and regional levels.

Keywords: Homelessness, northeastern Ontario, absolutely homeless, at risk of homelessness, youth, women, Anglophone, Francophone, Indigenous.

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Homelessness in North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Henri Pallard,a Carol Kauppi,a Kathy King,b and Katrina Srigley b
aLaurentian University, b Nipissing University

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 37-50, 2015.

Abstract: This article describes the number of people who are homeless and absolutely homeless in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. The total homeless population (high-risk and absolutely homeless) identified in the study (n=513) included 150 infants, children and adolescents under age 15. The majority of homeless people were adults in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. Indigenous people were greatly over-represented among the homeless population as 26% of homeless people were Indigenous. While the relative importance of self-reported reasons for homelessness differed somewhat for various subgroups, the central reasons were the same: taken together, the structural and systemic problems of unemployment, problems with social assistance, and the lack of affordable housing accounted for the largest proportion of homelessness.

Absolutely homeless people made up approximately a third (30%) of the homeless people. Half (50%) were women. Women, children and youth comprised 65% of this population. Francophones were under-represented in the homeless population in comparison to their numbers in the general population (9% of absolutely homeless people vs. 14% of the total population of North Bay). Indigenous people were greatly over-represented among absolutely homeless people. They comprised a third of the absolutely homeless population but 8% of the total population in North Bay.

Keywords: Homelessness, period prevalence study, northern Ontario, absolutely homeless, at risk of homelessness.

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Homelessness and Housing in a Northeastern Ontario, Canada, First Nation
Carol Kauppi a and Henri Pallard a
aLaurentian University with Darren McGregor and Kayla Seyler

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 51-66, 2015.

Abstract: This article describes a study on homelessness within a First Nation community (NEO FN), including the characteristics and reasons for homelessness, the size of the at risk population, service utilization, the impact of homelessness and models of collaboration between agencies. An objective was to gather information for the development of a community-based strategy for addressing homelessness, including the need and possibility of establishing transitional housing. The sample for the survey was 86 participants; it included men and women between the ages of 16 to 75. Twenty-seven people also participated in focus groups.

A substantial proportion of the survey respondents had experienced homelessness in their lifetimes or within the previous year. Thirty-six (42%) survey participants self-reported homelessness; of these 24 (28%) met the definition of absolute homelessness. Over half of those who were absolutely homeless indicated that the main reason was unemployment or a lack of income followed by a lack of housing available to them. 

Despite a lack of housing available in the community, participants stated that families take care of their own members and usually find ways to provide accommodation, consistent with the traditional values of the community. Participants believed that the need for new housing in the community as well as housing services were paramount. 

Keywords: Homelessness, housing, Indigenous, First Nation, northeastern Ontario.

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Migratory and Transient Homelessness in Northern Ontario, Canada
Carol Kauppi a and Henri Pallard a
aLaurentian University

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 67-98, 2015.

Abstract: This study fills a gap in the literature by expanding knowledge about migratory/transient homelessness in a northern Ontario context. Conducted in Sudbury (Ontario) Canada, this multi-methods study included an analysis of existing quantitative and qualitative data (from 2000-2007), a survey of homeless persons (2009) and focus groups with service users and providers (2009). Key findings indicate that migrants constitute about a fifth to a quarter of the local homeless population. Over three-quarters had come from Ontario communities, typically in northeastern or southern Ontario. There was no clear pattern of increases in the number of migrants in the summer compared to winter. Recent and intermediate-term migrants were similar in a number of respects: most were men, most did not have custody of any children, and the cultural backgrounds reflected the linguistic/cultural composition of the local homeless population. Indigenous people comprised a significant proportion of homeless migrants as they do among Sudbury’s homeless people in general. Most migrants, especially recent and intermediate-term migrants, were absolutely homeless and nearly all had migrated because of unemployment or low wages. The challenges for migrants are compounded by isolation and difficulties in finding/accessing services in a new community. Migrants often include the most disadvantaged persons among the homeless, thus increasing existing pressures on service systems.

Keywords: Homelessness, migration, northeastern Ontario.

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Voice of the People on the Re-Location Issue
Emily Faries a
aDepartment of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 99-110, 2015.

Abstract: When a federal government report recommended that the community of Kashechewan First Nation be relocated to Timmins Ontario, the community leadership decided to conduct its own community consultations. Direct and meaningful input from the community was the focus of this community-based initiative involving all age groups. This participatory research project was headed and conducted by Cree people who worked as a team to ensure that all community members had the opportunity to become involved in expressing their thoughts and aspirations for their traditional lands. The results strongly indicate the deep connection that the people have for their ancestral homelands. The community-driven endeavour reflects the determination and conviction of the people to protect their homelands as it is their sacred responsibility. Although there has been no movement on the side of the federal government, this community-driven process has been an empowering experience for the people.

Keywords: Flood, evacuation, community relocation, community consultation, First Nation, Kashechewan, northern Ontario, ancestral homeland, connection to the land.

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The Challenge of Homelessness to Spatial Practices
Julien P. Doucette-Préville a

Volume 08, Issue 04, Pg. 111-118, 2015.

Abstract: In this article, Lefebvre’s theory of space is utilized to understand the competing patterns in the use of public space by two different groups: the general public and homeless people as a sub-group. The general public perceives public space as distinctly separate from private space while the private space of homeless people is public space. This creates a dichotomy in their respective relationships to public space and their competing claims to their respective ways of using it. Despite the fact that homeless people only have public space at their disposal, legislative measures and administrative procedures—such as park bylaws which prohibit setting up temporary abode on parkland—are used to force them to abandon public space. Beyond the realm of legal regimes is the issue of representational space where homeless people are excluded from public space, which is seen as a sphere of consumption and enjoyment. Redevelopment plans (i.e., gentrification processes), are a prime example of a city’s representation of space. The reality of propertylessness means that homeless persons are forced to live their lives at the mercy of property owners. In an attempt to maintain the spatial practices of the housed majority, the city aggressively enacts a system of control which places homeless persons in a situation of constantly transgressing the legal regime that threatens their practices of survival.

Keywords: Homelessness, gentrification, law, legal regimes, public space, spatial practices.

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