• Dagma Koyi

The Inability to Escape The Homelessness Cycle

The most notable disparity in Canada is that among African Americans, who make only 13% of the population, account for 39% of homeless adults and more than half of homeless families with children (homeless hub, n.d.). Over time, this discrepancy has not improved. Individuals from racialized and newcomer populations, such as BIPOC youth (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), make up a disproportionate number of those who are homeless in Canada.

Discrimination, language hurdles, and historical trauma, all have a cumulative effect and are linked to homelessness and the inability to escape the cycle of homelessness in Canadian society (homeless hub, n.d.). Due to long-standing institutional and systemic racism, most minority groups, particularly African Americans and Indigenous peoples, endure homelessness at higher rates than Caucasian individuals.

Researchers claim that the gaps are the outcome of centuries of discrimination in housing, criminal justice, child welfare, and education (Wiltz, 2019). Consequently, cities and counties are beginning to examine how entrenched policy has contributed to the persistence of homelessness in black and brown populations.

According to research, people of colour are more likely to be driven into homelessness because they are more likely to have a criminal record, which makes finding housing and employment difficult. Or they've been evicted in the past. Or they have enough money to pay the rent but not enough to cover the security deposit for a new apartment. It's possible that the landlord will not take housing vouchers due to race or financial instability (Wiltz, 2019).

David Hewitt, director of the Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness in Minneapolis, stated, "Racial inequities occur pretty much everywhere you go." "However, it was startling here." He said that the vast majority of persons served in every homeless shelter, food bank, and drop-in centre were black and brown (Wiltz, 2019). Thus, it is evident that BIPOC communities experience significant hardships.

At R.E.S.T Centres, the organization recognizes that finding stable, affordable accommodation and the ability to live independently can be difficult for young people, specifically BIPOC youth. As a result, the organization assists and supports youngsters who are ageing out of the foster care system. In certain situations, R.E.S.T may be able to provide a rent subsidy to youth enrolled in the programme. For homeless youth whose income is unpredictable, this will provide access to safe and affordable accommodation.

Additionally, The Bridge of Hope programme is a collaboration between R.E.S.T. and community members to provide housing options for BIPOC youth who wish to live freely in the community while yet feeling a sense of belonging by living in a house with individuals who are concerned for their well-being. Thus, R.E.S.T Centres helps various youth to be safe and secure in their daily lives.

Racialized communities. Racialized Communities | The Homeless Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2022, from

Wiltz, T. (2019, March 29). 'a pileup of inequities': Why people of color are hit hardest by homelessness. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from

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