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Homelessness: Individual and Structural Factors Influencing This Wicked Problem According to recent research, homelessness affects between 150,000 and 300,000 Canadians a year (Cherner et al. 2017, 219; Gandermann et al. 2014, 341; Piat et al. 2015, 2367). This increase in homelessness began in the 1980’s following economic changes as well as shifts in government policy that lead to a reduction in supports for low-income families as well as a decrease in affordable housing available across Canada (Gaetz 2010, 21; Piat et al. 2015, 2367). Though proving a national problem, a concrete solution for homelessnessdoes not exist, making it a wicked problem seemingly impossible to solve. Homelessness continues to present itself as a multifaceted …show more content…
However, in order to eliminate homelessness as a crisis in Canada, these individual factors must be analyzed alongside the structural influences that lead to homelessness. According to the literature, structural risk factors that contribute to homelessness are: transitioning from an institutional placement into the community, social policies such as a lack of affordable housing and the dismantling of national housing strategy, transferring the responsibility from federal to provincial governments, and discrimination (Gaetz 2010, 22; Piat et al. 2015, 2368). By acknowledging these structural risk-factors as contributing alongside individual factors, a social ecological viewpoint proves effective in preventing homelessness (Piat et al., 2379). As the literature suggests, the “social ecological perspective provides a lens for understanding homelessness in Canada as a complex social issue that warrants a coordinated response across sectors, levels of government, and society” (Piat et al., 2380). By considering the issue of homelessness across all levels of society, we are better prepared to formulate a proper and effective solution towards the national

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