Girls, Homelessness, and COVID-19

The Urgent Need for Research and Action

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 The Shift, and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, York University, Canada kschwan@edu.yorku.ca
  • 2 Dept. of Criminology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada edej@wlu.ca
  • 3 Registered social worker and child and youth worker, Toronto, Canada alicia.versteegh@mail.utoronto.ca
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Abstract

Equitable access to adequate housing has increasingly been recognized as a matter of life and death during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, there has been limited gendered analysis of how COVID-19 has shaped girls’ access to housing. In this article we analyze how the socio-economic exclusion of girls who are homeless is likely to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. We suggest that three structural inequities will deepen this exclusion: the disproportionate burden of poverty faced by women; the inequitible childcare responsibilities women bear; and the proliferation of violence against women. We argue for the development of a research agenda that can address the structural conditions that foster pathways into homelessness for low-income and marginalized girls in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

Contributor Notes

Kaitlin Schwan (ORCID: 0000-0002-1941-2596) is Director of Research at The Shift, and Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (York University). She teaches social policy at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work. Email: kschwan@edu.yorku.ca

Erin Dej (ORCID: 0000-0002-0339-1989) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Email: edej@wlu.ca

Alicia Versteegh (ORCID: 0000-0001-7585-3583) is a registered social worker and child and youth worker from Toronto. Email: alicia.versteegh@mail.utoronto.ca

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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