The aging face of homelessness in North American cities

phys.org | 8/15/2018 | Staff
ajoy26 (Posted by) Level 3
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In Vancouver last month, more than 400 volunteers walked around, carrying clipboards and wearing bright yellow buttons that read "Homeless Count." They were out on the streets or in shelters asking homeless people to complete brief surveys for the city's annual Homeless Count co-ordinated by the Homelessness Services Association of B.C. (HSABC).

I spent one evening at a shelter, one block east of Main and Hastings. This intersection is at the heart of the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood in Vancouver that is home to a diverse group of people, many who struggle with socioeconomic and housing challenges and others affected by issues of mental health and substance use. To meet the significant need, a large number of social service agencies are concentrated in the Downtown Eastside.

Year - Vancouver - Homeless - Count - Homeless

Last year, the Vancouver Homeless Count determined that the homeless rate was the highest it had been since the count began in 2005. Although the group of people staying at the shelter on the night I visited represented many identities, there were some patterns that I noticed.

My research team from Simon Fraser University's Gerontology Research Centre is collaborating with HSABC and Providence Health Care to explore the issues surrounding homelessness. We have heard from health-care and shelter providers throughout Metro Vancouver that it feels as though the number of older persons who are experiencing homelessness and looking for support in the shelter system is increasing. In 2017, the stark reality for older adults became apparent as almost one quarter of the people who were counted during the Homeless Count that year were aged 55 or older. This was up from 18 per cent in 2014.

Canadians - Age - Time - Stresses - Job

Many Canadians may envision their older age as a time when they can finally relax, no longer worry about the stresses of working a regular job. They may hope to spend more...
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