The Crises of Homelessness in Canada and Its Impact on Blacks and Racialized Communities
It is difficult to overstate the homelessness crisis in Canada. A study showed that, as of 2018, 35,000 people in Canada were homeless on any given night. Of that number, 20% identify as black, while 40% identify as indigenous. That means that blacks and racialized communities make up a disproportionate number of the homeless population in Canada. Why is this the case? What factors put blacks and racialized communities at greater risk for homelessness? And what can be done to mitigate these risks?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the higher rates of homelessness among blacks and racialized communities in Canada. One major factor is discrimination. Blacks and other racialized minorities face discrimination in all areas of life, including housing. This discrimination can take many forms, from landlords refusing to rent to blacks and other minorities, to property owners making it difficult for blacks and other minorities to access affordable housing. In addition, blacks and other racialized minorities are more likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts. This is due to a variety of factors, including systemic racism, which can lead to lower wages and fewer opportunities for advancement. As a result, blacks and other racialized minorities are more likely to be disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment. This is especially true for recent immigrants who often face language barriers and lack the necessary skills and qualifications to find good jobs.
Secondly, the high cost of living in many parts of Canada make it difficult for low-income families to make ends meet. This is especially true in large urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver where the cost of housing has skyrocketed in recent years. As a result, many black and racialized families are forced to live in overcrowded households or on the street.
The rise in homelessness among black and racialized communities has had a number of negative impacts. Firstly, it has led to an increase in crime rates as more people are forced to resort to illegal activities in order to survive. Secondly, it has placed a strain on already overburdened social assistance programs. And finally, it has resulted in a further deterioration of relations between police and minority communities.
Homelessness is also having a major impact on the mental health of black and racialized people in Canada. Studies have shown that living on the street or in shelters can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression. It can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In fact, homelessness is one of the leading causes of death among people with mental illness.
The homeless crisis in Canada is a complex problem with no easy solutions. However, understanding the root causes of homelessness among black and racialized communities is a critical first step towards developing effective policies and programs to address this issue. Discrimination, poverty, and the lack of social supports all contribute to the higher rates of homelessness among these groups. By addressing these underlying problems, we can begin to make headway in combating this crisis.