Migratory and Transient Homelessness in Northern Ontario, Canada Pathways to Homelessness in Sudbury and Its Related Impacts

This study fills a gap in the literature by expanding knowledge about migratory/transient homelessness in a northern Ontario context. Conducted in Sudbury (Ontario) Canada, this multi-methods study included an analysis of existing quantitative and qualitative data (from 2000-2007), a survey of homeless persons (2009) and focus groups with service users and providers (2009). Key findings indicate that migrants constitute about a fifth to a quarter of the local homeless population. Over three-quarters had come from Ontario communities, typically in northeastern or southern Ontario. There was no clear pattern of increases in the number of migrants in the summer compared to winter. Recent and intermediate-term migrants were similar in a number of respects: most were men, most did not have custody of any children, and the cultural backgrounds reflected the linguistic/cultural composition of the local homeless population. Indigenous people comprised a significant proportion of homeless migrants as they do among Sudbury’s homeless people in general. Most migrants, especially recent and intermediate-term migrants, were absolutely homeless and nearly all had migrated because of unemployment or low wages. The challenges for migrants are compounded by isolation and difficulties in finding/accessing services in a new community. Migrants often include the most disadvantaged persons among the homeless, thus increasing existing pressures on service systems.

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OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada