Date of Conferral





Public Health


Dr. Peter B. Anderson


Since the 1990s, homelessness has increased in Canada. The existing strategies of the government and public health service providers to manage the situation have had limited success. Researchers have noted the lack of including those experiencing homelessness to better understand and find a solution to homelessness. The purpose of this phenomenological study, driven by the social cognitive theory, was to understand homelessness from the perspectives of people who do not have homes. Data were collected from open-ended interviews with a purposeful sample of 15 individuals who are homeless. Summarizing and analyzing the interviews, several themes emerged after interview data were transcribed via hand coding and analyzed using cognitive data analysis. The prominent themes were: lack namely, money, home, privacy, and support; discrimination of all kinds; mental illness and addiction; the need for a review of housing policy that specifically addresses rent, mortgage qualification criteria and house tax, and to create awareness of government support systems and the services that they provide. Public health service providers and designated authorities can use the findings of this study to understand the phenomenon from the perspective of people who are experiencing homelessness, and in turn can use that understanding to influence improved homelessness reduction strategies that could improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness and their communities. Since homelessness is a public health issue, effectively bringing it under control could create a positive impact on the health and safety of the public.