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Grenier, A., Barken, R., Sussman, T., Rothwell, D., Bourgeois-Guérin, V. (2016). Homelessness among older people: Assessing strategies and frameworks across Canada. Canadian Review of Social Policy/ Revue Canadienne de Politique Sociale, 74, Spring 2016, 1-39.
Publication year: 2016

Homelessness among older people is expected to rise as a result of unmet need and demographic change. Yet, strategies and responses to homelessness across Canada tend to focus on younger groups, overlooking the circumstances and needs of older people (i.e., age 50+). This article reports the results of a content analysis of government planning documents on homelessness conducted in 2014. A total of 42 local, provincial, and federal strategies were reviewed to assess the extent to which they recognized and targeted the needs of older people. Our review resulted in three categories of documents: 1) documents with no discussion of homelessness among older people (n=16; 38%); 2) documents with a minimal discussion of homelessness among older people (n=22; 55%); and 3) documents with a significant discussion of homelessness among older people (n=4; 7%). Results indicate that while many strategies are beginning to consider older people as a subgroup with unique needs, little action has been taken to develop comprehensive services and supports for this group. We conclude with a call to integrate the needs of diverse groups of older people into strategies to end homelessness and to develop programs and responses that are suitable for older people.