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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

A Complex Exile

Homelessness and Social Exclusion in Canada

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

A Complex Exile

Homelessness and Social Exclusion in Canada

Over 235,000 people couch surf, stay in emergency shelters, and live on the street in Canada every year, but lack of secure housing is but one barrier faced by people who are homeless. A Complex Exile demonstrates how the very policies, practices, and funding models that exist to house the homeless, promote social inclusion, and provide mental health care form a homelessness industrial complex. These practices emphasize personal responsibility and individualized responses that ultimately serve to subtly exclude people on the street, which has profoundly negative effects on people experiencing homelessness. Erin Dej explores how a shift from managing to preventing and ending homelessness has taken shape over the past two decades. However, this movement has resulted in an increased focus on individualized responses to homelessness; individuals are charged with “fixing” themselves in order to secure housing and re-enter mainstream society. This book demonstrates that the causes of, and responses to, homelessness have become largely medicalized, limiting discussion on structural and systemic drivers such as income inequality, discrimination, and rising housing costs. A Complex Exile goes beyond bio-medical and psychological perspectives on homelessness, mental illness, and addiction to call for a socially transformed response to homelessness in Canada.


232 pages | 1 halftone, 1 table | 6 x 9


Reviews

A Complex Exile is poised to shift Canada’s approach to addressing homelessness. This book highlights the importance of permanently changing the ways in which we react to homelessness: away from solely treating the individual and toward addressing the systemic barriers that create exclusion and deepen poverty.

Jacqueline Kennelly, Carleton University

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