Defining Homelessness

Before delving into themes and issues surrounding death and homelessness on this blog, I thought it would be appropriate to first define what homelessness is. Miriam Webster dictionary defines homelessness as: “having no home or permanent place of residence”

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness offers a more detailed view and defines homelessness as the following:

“Homelessness describes the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination”

As for the U.S., The National Health Care for the Homeless Council explains that there is more than one “official” definition, which can be found here.


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