Gender and experiences of family homelessness
Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless
URL with Digital Object Identifier
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Family homelessness is a growing social challenge throughout the developed world. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of family homelessness in a mid-sized Canadian city and, particularly, the role that gender plays in these experiences with a primary focus on women. This project was a secondary analysis situated within a critical theoretical perspective. The data for this study, consisting of four focus groups, were extracted from a primary study that focused on diversion from family homelessness. Qualitative thematic analysis was utilized with data being managed and themed with the assistance of Nvivo. Four themes were generated: scarcity of resources; relationship breakdown; living with precarious mental health; and a common experience. The first three themes reveal on the gendered nature of women’s pathways into homelessness, where the last theme highlights that during times of extreme crisis and housing loss, all parents undergo very common experiences and challenges related to meeting housing needs and supporting their children. Pathways into homelessness are gendered, and it was noted in this analysis the unique challenges that mothers face in relation to poverty, conflict, and mental health. Therefore, services need to be geared to support the unique needs of women and mothers.