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Social Locations – Homelessness

Equity Framework > Social Locations > Homelessness

Homelessness describes the situation of an individual, family or community without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it [1]. Homeless populations are incredibly diverse and homelessness is experienced differently by different groups. Some groups are more likely to experience homelessness as a result of systemic or societal barriers. For instance, in Toronto, racialized groups are overrepresented in the homeless population [2]. These differences are important when considering methods of addressing homelessness, as one strategy does not apply for every community [3][4]. Likewise, the above defintion of homelessness does not adequately capture the multi-dimensional nature of Indigenous homelessness. Indigenous homelessness is not defined as lacking a structure of habitation; rather, it is more fully described and understood through a lens of Indigenous worldviews. These include: individuals, families and communities isolated from their relationships to land, water, place, family, kin, each other, animals, cultures, languages and identities [5].


  1. Fred Victor (2019). Homelessness in Toronto – Facts and Statistics. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from
  2. City of Toronto (2018): Street Needs Assessment 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from
  3. Homeless Hub. Homelessness 101: Who is homeless?. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from
  4. Homeless Hub. Homelessness 101: Causes Of Homelessness. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from
  5. Thistle, J. (2017.) Indigenous Definition of Homelessness in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from