Migration and homelessness

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Migration and homelessness

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Title: Migration and homelessness
Author: Kauppi, Carol; Pallard, Henri; Shaikh, Arshi
Abstract: Place and space are central to human ways of organizing the experience of living. Homelessness is an experience of displacement that profoundly modifies a person’s sense of self and place. This paper examines the forces that propel the flow of migratory homeless people into urban communities in northern Ontario, Canada. In order to advance knowledge in the area of place attachment among homeless migrants, the paper addresses three objectives: (i) to examine the proportion of migratory persons in the homeless population (ii) to describe the characteristics, including the gender, culture and language among homeless, migratory persons as well as their reasons for homelessness and migration and (iii) to explore the meaning of and attachment to places among migratory homeless persons. The study utilized quantitative and qualitative data gathered in Sudbury, Ontario. The data were from a period prevalence count of homeless people and focus groups with service users. In addition, an analysis of interviews with fifteen homeless individuals who had experienced migration was carried out to acquire a deeper understanding of their sense of place and belonging. The quantitative data, based on a sample of 349 homeless adults, revealed that 28% (n=98) self-identified as migrants. The profile of migrants indicated that they tended to be Aboriginal, male, absolutely homeless and without custody of dependent children. Analysis of place attachments among migrant homeless individu- als revealed that various spaces were transformed into meaningful places when homeless migrants forged bonds with others and met their existential needs. The bonds migrant homeless individuals formed with places they inhabited were central to their identity and a sense of belonging; hence along with race, class and gender, elements of place should also be considered in virtually any study, particularly those examining issues such as power, exclusion, and inequality within so- ciety.
URI: http://ijf.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.203/prod.133
Date: 2013


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