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Social Environments

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Social environments have a huge impact on homelessness. People who have no adequate social support are at a huge risk of ending up homeless and if they became homeless it is not easy for them to move on from that. Lack of Social supports due to divorce, domestic violence and lack of family support broken relationships can lead to homelessness. According to The Homeless Hub, ‘newcomers to Canada, including immigrants and refugees, are at risk of homelessness due to various factors, such as: poverty, discrimination, cuts to social programs, unrecognized foreign employment and educational credentials, delays in work permits and mental illness’(2013). Immigrants are at a higher risk as they leave their social supports behind and move to a different place where if things do not work out they can easily find themselves on the streets .Immigrants are also at a disadvantage  when they move to a new place and have a hard time making social connection or finding out about the resources available for them, An interview done by Graham, “we found that respondents identified aspects of five predominant social relationships that had the greatest impact on their present homeless situation: relationships with friends and family, acquaintances in shared accommodation, landlords and employers, other homeless people, and the social service delivery system(2011). As people go through major life changes life death of a partner, or major accident or illness , they can suddenly find themselves  going through a lot of stress and without a good support environment  these people can find themselves homeless. A good social environment provides benefits such as finance, accommodation, employment connections, counselling and support. A good social environment can be from the community too where services such as counselling, employment training, and other community services are available to help an individual cope and therefore prevent homelessness reported Mikkonen and Raphael,(2010). 


Physical environments can contribute to homelessness due to a sudden change in the environment like natural disaster like tornados, mud slides, floods, and fires. An example is how the 2013 flood in Calgary left thousands of people homelessness. They were displaced from their houses until the flood was gone, some were fortunate enough to go back but others lost everything. According to Mikkonen and …., Housing is an absolute necessity for living a healthy life and living in unsafe, unaffordable or insecure housing increases the risk of many health problems (2011).In Calgary the housing is very expensive and not enough leaving the poor at a high risk of homelessness. Other physical environmental factors like high risk neighbourhood where there is drugs and prostitution are at a higher level of experiencing homelessness due to the addictions that arise from using drugs to cope with the environment. Children who are growing up in an abusive environment are at a risk of homelessness as they may want to run away and leave on the streets. A research done by The Homeless Hub shows  that violence against women and children, by fathers and husbands is increasingly a cause of homelessness. As a result  women make the decision to leave their abusive partners when the violence escalates and the need to protect their children intensifies(2013).


Homeless people are at much higher risk for infectious disease, premature death, acute illness, and chronic health problems than the general population due to poor health practices and personal choices. First they do not have a lot of money to be able to make health life choices as main priority is surviving and therefore they end up buying a lot of junk food as this is easily available and cheap too. Homeless people are also at higher risk having addictions. If a homeless person has an addiction they would end up making poor choices and therefore putting their life in danger. An example is the sharing of needles amongst cocaine users who cannot afford to obtain needles for themselves as they would be homeless and poor. This would put these individuals at a higher risk of infectious disease. In order to cope with life they may be forced to engage in high risky behavior like prostitution in order to find a place to sleep. People living in homelessness may be more vulnerable to disease due to their proximity living with others in smaller spaces or on the street reports S.H.I.A(2011). Some people are not able to manage and cope with the stresses of life resort to using and abusing legal and illegal drugs. This leads to addictions which will put them through financial, social and legal troubles with the end result of being homeless. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Some key informants believed that addictions were a cause of homelessness, while only seven families reported that addictions were a cause of their becoming homeless (2003).People with mental health issues are at a greater risk of homelessness as “delusional thinking may lead them to withdraw from friends, family and other people. This loss of support leaves them fewer coping resources in times of trouble’(2013), reports The Homeless Hub.


Healthy  child development is an important factor in how the child grows into a mature adult and some of the behaviors, health practices and cognitive functions are formed from early life.









The Homeless Hub. 2013. Research matters, finding solutions to homelessness. Retrieved from         http://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness

Shier, M. L., Jones, M. E., & Graham, J. R. (2011). Social Communities and Homelessness: A         Broader Concept Analysis of Social Relationships and Homelessness. Journal of Human         Behavior In The Social Environment, 21(5), 455-474.         doi:10.1080/10911359.2011.566449



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