Members of our team have published a chapter on partnering with community organizations to improve services for those who are experiencing homelessness. The McGill University Social Development Research Group has partnered with the Old Brewery Mission (OBM) since 2011 to conduct research and improve services for the homeless.
Our team has just published an article on shelter use amongst men who are new to homelessness in later life. The article was based on our review of administrative data of the men’s shelter in Montreal, and adds to understandings of the phenomenon of new homelessness in late life.
Our team has just published the results of a comprehensive review of research on homelessness among older people between 1978 and 2014. In this paper we review ‘what is currently known’ in the field, including the estimated prevalence of homelessness among older people in Canada, pathways into homeless in late life, and differences that exist according to ‘race’, class, gender, ability, health status, and geography.
Dr. Grenier and our research partners at the Old Brewery Mission were pleased to raise issues of homelessness in later life at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, held in Vancouver in November 2014.
Older homelessness has been identified as a significant concern among researchers and service providers alike. Those working in shelters, for example, are confronted with the realities of increasing numbers of older people experiencing homelessness in their everyday work. Yet, while policymakers have devoted considerable attention to homelessness, they have typically focused on homelessness among youth, young adults, and young families.
Members of our team conducted a systematic literature search on homelessness and aging in order to create a comprehensive list of relevant works and resources. Key terms were used in the search process, including many terms referring to older adults (such as elder, senior, “older adult”, etc.), and terms referring to issues of homelessness (such as homeless, unhoused, “shelter users”, etc.).
Our team was pleased to participate in an interesting discussion on marginalization and exclusion at the annual ACFAS conference last week. The intersections of aging and homelessness are beginning to make it to a research and practice agenda.
We are pleased to see that Quebec’s national strategy combatting homelessness recognizes persons aged 50+. A great first step in addressing the unique needs of this group.
Dr. Grenier presented a paper in the symposium ‘Understanding Experiences of Ageing: Perspectives from Critical and Cultural Gerontology’ (Participants: Jan Baars, Paul Higgs, Amanda Grenier, Chris Phillipson) at the Cultural Gerontology conference in Galway Ireland on April 11, 2014.
This report reviews the state of literature on aging and homelessness. A substantial literature spanning several decades explores homelessness and the programs designed to address this issue (Lee, Tyler, & Wright, 2010; Shlay & Rossi, 1992; Toro, 2007; Trypuc & Robinson, 2009). However, present knowledge and practices about homelessness tend to focus on youth, younger adults, and young families, with far less attention to older people (Beynon, 2009; Burns, Grenier, Lavoie, Rothwell, & Sussman, 2012; Cohen, 1999; Crane & Warnes, 2001; Gonyea, Mills-Dick, & Bachman, 2010; McDonald, Dergal, & Cleghorn, 2004). Older people who are homeless are depicted as an ‘invisible population’ (Gonyea et al., 2010), but with demographic shifts the numbers of older people experiencing homelessness can be expected to rise (Edmonston & Fong, 2011). Population aging calls for research and policy attention to aging and homelessness.