Living on the Street: Rethinking our Response to Homelessness

Report on the results of a systems thinking event

The FACE team, made up of Caroline Leblanc, a doctoral candidate in community health, and people who live or have lived through homelessness, under the academic direction of Professors Christine Loignon and Karine Bertrand of the Université de Sherbrooke, conducted a research project on non-utilization of shelter facilities in Montreal. The result was the event "Living in the street: Rethinking our response to homelessness," which was set up to open up a dialogue by taking a systemic view of encampments in Quebec, and to give a voice to people living on the streets, as many had expressed they were not being heard or considered. FACE stands for Forces, Actions, Changes et Equity. 

The purpose of this document is to present the results of this systems thinking event. In summary, the results highlight a number of issues: a lack of access to affordable and adequate housing; a complex, bureaucratic and poorly-suited system; an inadequate supply of homelessness services; a lack of humane and suitable interventions; and the presence of political issues, such as a dehumanizing perception of people living on the street, repressive actions that undermine their capabilities, a lack of accountability on the part of governments and inadequate funding that hinder a response focused on the rights of people living on the street. Finally, the results also address courses of action that could bring about positive changes in the lives of people living on the street, such as promoting humanistic approaches, improving homelessness services and access to justice to ensure that their fundamental rights are respected. 

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