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

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.

Introduction

Despite the profoundly divergent impacts of COVID-19 globally, it appears that diverse policy makers, scholars, and community leaders can agree on one thing—the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequities. This has certainly been true in the case of housing, with emerging research indicating significant disparities with respect to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates on the basis of housing status (Culhane et al. 2020). Given growing recognition that adequate housing is foundational to survival in the midst of a pandemic (Farha and Schwan 2020), the question becomes about who is granted access to this means of survival. While global conversations on housing and the pandemic are centering on access to housing as a form of healthcare, there is limited analysis of how gendered access to adequate housing shapes women and girls’ experiences of COVID-19. This gap in public and scholarly debate is significant given evidence that gender inequities are heightening during global lockdowns, including high rates of job loss of service industry positions, increased cases of intimate partner violence (IPV), and decreased access to services (Lakam 2020).

In this article, we explore the intersection of gender, housing status, age, and poverty on girls’ experiences of the pandemic, particularly in the Canadian context. The complexities of girls’ homelessness is not being captured in the national discourse regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, despite overlapping areas of concern. Recent data on housing conditions during COVID-19 points to important issues regarding living space, financial strain, and health risks (Clifford 2020; Elliot and Leon 2020), but few researchers have conducted gender-based analyses of these issues. Valuable research is emerging about the homelessness sector's response to COVID-19 and how the pandemic is affecting youth specifically, but to date this work has not included a gendered component as Naomi Thulien et al. (2020) point out. This article is a first step towards understanding the uniquely gendered experiences of girls who are homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the sections that follow, we explore three loci of systemic inequity through which COVID-19 is likely to increase the social and economic exclusion of girls in Canada who are homeless or precariously housed: the feminization of poverty, the uneven burden of childcare, and gender-based violence. This literature review draws together available research and data in these three areas as it pertains to the experiences of girls who are homeless or precariously housed, in conversation with available statistical data and research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and youth more broadly. The triangulation of these bodies of research raises the question of whether the pandemic may create a pipeline into housing precarity and homelessness for low-income or marginalized girls in Canada, some of whom were previously housed, while further entrenching homelessness for others. Regrettably, there exists limited disaggregated data on the impact of COVID-19 on girls who are poor, precariously housed, or homeless, creating significant barriers to evidence-informed policy responses. Given this, we emphasize the importance of developing a research agenda capable of guiding policy and practice solutions in this area, thereby disrupting the conduit into homelessness for this population of girls.

Methodology and Approach

This literature review draws together various types of research to explore how gender-based inequities may affect girls who are homeless or precariously housed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including scholarly literature, government reports, statistical data, and policy briefs. To do so, we triangulate the well-established knowledge base on girls’ homelessness with emergent statistical data and research on the impact of COVID-19 on women and young people more broadly (which is necessarily preliminary, given the recent and rapidly shifting context of the pandemic). We took this methodological approach given the scarcity of research on the impact of COVID-19 on girls who are homeless, combined with historical evidence that this group is particularly vulnerable to economic precarity, increased exposure to violence, and intensified exclusion during natural disasters or public health emergencies (Arora-Jonsson 2011). This approach enables us to draw attention to why further research and disaggregated data collection is needed in this area, while identifying the research topics that should be advanced based on well-established themes in the literature. Thus this review is meant to serve an agenda-setting function for scholars and researchers working in this area, as well as policymakers, practitioners, and community-based organizations that are responsible for data collection and advancing evidence-based policy and practice solutions.

In this literature review, we employ an intersectional feminist approach to understanding housing precarity and homelessness among girls, positioning patriarchy as one of the key “social structures that create a ‘tendency’ to cause homelessness” (Bapatista 2010: 170) among girls. We seek to illuminate how intersecting social locations (race, (dis)ability, class, sexual preference) shape the experiences of housing precarity for girls because of oppressive systems such as racism, colonialism, and ableism (Davis 2011). This intersectional feminist approach enables us to explore how and why girls’ experiences of homelessness are distinct from those of boys and men, and how this may be particularly the case in the context of COVID-19. Using this approach is combined with paying particular attention to understanding how girls’ individual experiences of homelessness are embedded within larger societal structures and systems that create systemic disadvantage to accessing safe, adequate, and affordable housing on the basis of gender (Farmer 2004). In so doing, we seek to explore avenues for structural and system-based reform that may contribute to housing security for girls during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Homelessness among Girls in Canada

The homeless person trope is etched into our collective consciousness—the old white man with shabby hair and ripped clothes, down on his luck. This mythologization masks the reality of what homelessness looks like today in Canada, as Marie-Eve Sylvestre and Celine Bellot (2014) note. It fails to capture the fact that approximately 40,000 young people experience homelessness in Canada every year, 36 percent of whom are girls, many of whom have been involved in child protection services and who have experienced physical and sexual abuse before becoming homeless (Gaetz et al. 2016). It renders invisible the ways in which violent colonial practices and anti-Black and anti-Brown racism have created the conditions for such homelessness, given that 30 percent of homeless young people identify as Indigenous and 29 percent identify as racialized (Gaetz et al. 2016). Such tropes homogenize homeless populations and fail to capture that 30 percent of young people experiencing homeless identify as 2SLGBTQ+ (Gaetz et al. 2016).

Youth homelessness is defined as “the situation and experience of young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are living independently of parents and/or caregivers, but do not have the means or ability to acquire a stable, safe or consistent residence” (Gaetz et al. 2017: 1). The concept of homelessness encompasses a multitude of experiences, ranging from sleeping rough or residing in a homeless shelter, through to housing insecurity and precarity, such as couch surfing or trading sex for housing (Gaetz et al. 2017). Here, we explore the experiences of homelessness of girls whom we define, in turn, as girl-identifying persons between the ages of 16 and 24. Girls’ homelessness is typically subsumed under the literature on youth homelessness (given the overlap in age), and there remains a dearth of knowledge regarding girls’ unique experiences of homelessness (Schwan et al. 2020). Across the broader literature on youth homelessness, research indicates that this is caused by social and structural breakdowns that fail to provide the necessary supports, resources, and essentials of life, including the right to housing (Gaetz et al. 2016). Some studies indicate that girls are among the fastest growing groups of people facing homelessness in Canada (Kidd et al. 2017), and the causes of their homelessness are different from those of young men (van Berkum and Oudshoorn 2015). Experiences of violence, victimization, discrimination, poverty, and trauma pervade girls’ trajectories into and through homelessness. The stress that comes with the pressures of daily survival while experiencing homelessness, as well as the trauma girls may have experienced before and during homelessness, causes profound harm to this group (van Berkum and Oudshoorn 2015).

Indigenous girls in Canada face some of the most severe disadvantages with respect to housing (Feminist Alliance for International Action and Palmater 2020). As a result of colonial systems and economic and social marginalization, Indigenous girls are not only at higher risk of homelessness, but they disproportionately experience IPV, child apprehension, and other forms of state and interpersonal violence that drive homelessness (Sinha 2013). We are only beginning to understand and remedy the unique and intersectional challenges that homeless girls face. As gender-based analyses are becoming more commonplace in research and policy development, we are learning more about how gender mediates the causes and conditions of girls’ homelessness, and will thereby be in a better position to generate gender-sensitive policy and practice solutions.

Homeless During a Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Housing Insecure Girls

While public messaging about COVID-19 emphasizes that “we're all in this together,” data illustrates that the burden is not equally shared. For example, Black and racialized people are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than other groups, and studies have shown that the effects of the pandemic are powerfully structured by factors such as access to wealth, neighborhood of residence, and race (Choi et al. 2020; Levesque and Theriault 2020). Such inequities not only shape who contracts the illness or experiences severe health consequences, but also determine who bears the burden of childcare, who is exposed to the virus in the workplace, who is able to escape situations of violence, and who has the means to follow public health orders. In effect, COVID-19 has vividly illuminated the life and death stakes involved in inequitable access to income, housing, healthcare, childcare, and other key resources upon which human life depends (Farha and Schwan 2020).

For girls who are homeless or precariously housed in Canada, emerging evidence suggests that the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing disadvantage and is creating new forms of socio-economic exclusion. In a survey of youth-serving shelters and services across Canada, staff reported a significant reduction in services for girls who are unhoused or otherwise vulnerable during the pandemic, with shelter spaces, youth drop-in programs, and hotel rooms closing or unable to accept new clients. This reduction in services, combined with public health directives to observe physical distance and stay home, appears to have also been accompanied by increases in violence against girls who are precariously housed (Buchnea and McKitterick 2020). Given these realities and other escalating challenges, the Women's National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) declared COVID-19 a “gendered crisis” in Canada, demanding that policy responses to the pandemic “take into consideration the path and profile of gendered homelessness” (WNHHN 2020: n.p.). Despite such calls to action, one-size-fits-all Canadian policy responses have failed in many domains to employ equity standards in their conceptualization and implementation (Farha and Schwan 2020). This policy gap is mirrored in research as well, with the experiences and realities of girls who are homeless remaining preliminary and largely undocumented.

The Feminization of Poverty

Women and girls in Canada, as a group, are more likely to experience poverty compared to men and boys (Fotheringham et al. 2014). This feminization of poverty refers to the unequal levels of poverty between men and women as well as the conditions and processes by which these inequities are maintained as Sara McLanahan and Erin Kelly (2006) observe. Across Canada, more than 2.4 million women and girls live on low incomes. On average, women and girls receive lower wages than their male counterparts, are more likely to be in non-permanent employment, and are overrepresented in minimum-wage and part-time jobs (Moyser and Burlock 2018), in addition to shouldering disproportionate responsibilities for housework and childcare. The feminization of poverty, linked to the de-valuing of women's labour (formal and informal), suggests that many low-income women and girls may have entered the pandemic with less savings and greater employment precarity. Given their age and experience level, low-income girls in particular face these circumstances (van Berkum and Oudshoorn 2015).

Available data indicates that younger workers and low-wage workers have been hardest hit by job losses in Canada during the pandemic, and many of these workers were girls employed in sectors that were forced to close because of COVID-19, including retail, food, and hospitality (Macdonald 2020). Statistics Canada (2020a) data shows that women and girls have experienced steeper job losses than men during the pandemic, and that men have rebounded twice as quickly as women. Importantly, youth (aged 15 to 24 years) experienced the largest proportion of job losses at the beginning of the pandemic compared to other age groups (accounting for almost 40 percent of total jobs losses in March 2020), and most of these job losses were experienced by girls (59 percent) (Scott 2020a). While data reveals that by August 2020 women had recouped almost two-thirds of their February to April employment losses, these gains were much smaller for girls, and were significantly less than for men of all ages (Scott 2020b). Although the Canadian government has established income support programs to address these widespread job losses, many girls engaged in precarious, home-based, or casual work, including sex work and informal labour, have not qualified for this federal financial relief (Amnesty International 2020).

The sharp employment losses experienced by girls across Canada have profound impacts on their access to housing. Poverty is the main contributor to girls’ barriers to accessing and maintaining housing, and housing is often the biggest household expenditure among families living on low to moderate incomes (Brown et al. 2015). A national study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives identified that of the 3.4 million renters in Canada, almost half had less than a month's worth of savings, and a third had only two weeks or less (Tranjan 2020). Given that women and girls across Canada experience greater levels of core housing need compared to men (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) 2019), and that low-income girls have faced some of the sharpest job losses (and slowest employment recovery) during the pandemic, it is likely that girls and girl-led families are at an increased risk of housing precarity and eviction compared to other groups. Emerging data indicates this is already occurring in the United States, particularly among Black single mothers (Ockerman 2020), with researchers predicting that women and girls will represent the majority of Americans evicted by the end of 2020 (Benfer et al. 2020).

Unfortunately, there has been very little research on the impact of job loss on housing stability for girls who are precariously housed, homeless, experiencing IPV, and/or are low-wage earners during the pandemic. Similarly, there is limited gender-segregated data on evictions or the risk of evictions, at both local and national levels. This means that policymakers and social services providers may not be prepared to address the unique needs (or scale) of girls and girl-led families who find themselves evicted in the midst of this pandemic.

The Uneven Burden of Childcare

Girls bear greater responsibility for providing childcare and assuming the costs associated with that care compared to men (Fotheringham et al. 2014), a burden that has significant implications for both poverty and housing stability. Girls’ employment and income are more likely than men's to be interrupted when they are parenting, and these interruptions can undermine housing stability (Vecchio 2019). Lack of affordable and accessible childcare options also makes it difficult for girls to attend work or school, which, in turn, affects their earning potential and contributes to long-term poverty and housing instability (Crisafi and Jasinski 2016). These difficulties are amplified for young single mothers who experience greater levels of poverty than men-led households of all ages (Fotheringham et al. 2014).

As in the general population, the burden for childcare in homeless families often falls on women and girls; almost 90 percent of families using emergency shelters in Canada are headed by single women or girls (ESDC 2017). Further, research shows that homeless families are often headed by young mothers (Culhane et al. 2007). Girls who are homeless face particular challenges with respect to the burden of childcare, including because they are more likely to have children at a younger age (Crawford et al. 2011) and frequently experience discrimination on the basis of age, gender, and relationship status when seeking rental housing (Schwan et al. 2018). When they are able to access housing and transition out of homelessness, young mothers often face severe poverty and may lack important social and family supports to assist with childcare (Thulien et al. 2018).

The context of COVID-19 heightens girls’ disproportionate childcare burden. Lockdown measures, school closures, and physical distance requirements leave many low-income mothers to provide childcare in the absence of formal and informal supports, making it harder to remain in paid employment (Goertzen 2020). The closure and reduction in services in the homelessness and violence against women (VAW) sectors has also meant reduced access to free childcare and parenting support for girls, as well as reduced access to critical resources like free baby formula, diapers, and feminine hygiene products (WNHHN 2020). In effect, it appears that many young mothers who are precariously housed are facing increased childcare burdens and financial precarity during the pandemic, often with fewer supports. Regrettably, there remains very limited research or data on the impact of COVID-19 on young mothers who are homeless or precariously housed, including at the intersection of childcare and job loss. Although the federal government's speech from the throne in September 2020 included a commitment to “a feminist, intersectional response” to the pandemic, including through increased access to child care (Emmanuel 2020), it remains unclear whether or how such supports will reach women who are homeless, fleeing IPV, or otherwise deeply marginalized.

Gender-Based Violence

It is well documented that girls suffer significantly higher levels of gender-based violence than men and boys, including IPV and sexual violence (Conroy 2018). Gender-based violence is particularly pronounced in the lives of girls who are homeless or precariously housed. In a 2015 pan-Canadian survey of youth experiencing homelessness, 37 percent of girls and 41 percent of transgender and gender non-binary young people reported having experienced sexual assault in the previous 12 months (Gaetz et al. 2016). IPV is one of the leading causes of girls’ homelessness (Adams et al. 2018). Housing insecure girls are also at enormous risk of entering into or returning to a violent home and/or into a situation of sexual exploitation given the lack of shelter and housing options to which they can go to escape violence (Bretherton 2017). Research consistently shows that violence against women (VAW) shelters in Canada are underfunded and under-resourced (Schwan et al. 2020), so much so that in a one-day snapshot of shelters across Canada, 669 women along with 236 accompanying children were turned away from shelters, most often because of a lack of beds (Statistics Canada 2019). Because of these systemic deficiencies, as well as concerns about losing custody of their children, financial constraints, and a lack of permanent housing solutions, some girls experiencing homelessness return to violent relationships (Watson 2016).

Violence in the home is especially concerning during the COVID-19 pandemic when girls have been required to shelter-in-place and when services are reduced or shut down. There is evidence that family violence, IPV, and sexual violence, on the rise during the pandemic, are affecting women and girls disproportionately (UN Women 2020). Reports coming from China, the United States, Europe, and Canada all indicate alarming increases in calls for help in cases of domestic violence or IPV (Human Rights Watch 2020). Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division at UN Human Rights, has referred to the rise of domestic violence as “a pandemic within the pandemic” (OHCHR 2020: n. p.). In the Canadian context, 17 police services across Canada reported a 12 percent increase in calls related to domestic disturbances between March and June 2020 (Statistics Canada 2020b), and many VAW crisis lines have seen significant increases in calls from women and girls. For example, over a three week period in April, a Vancouver-based crisis line for women experiencing domestic violence reported a 300 percent increase in calls, as Rumina Daya and Jon Azpiri (2020) report. There is some indication that violence against particular groups of girls is rising as well, including specifically Indigenous girls (Wright 2020).

Available research, although preliminary, suggests that girls who are homeless or precariously housed may be vulnerable to increased violence during the pandemic. A survey of 48 youth-serving homeless shelters and services across Canada during the first few months of the pandemic indicated that staff were seeing a significant increase in violence against the girls they were serving. Among survey respondents, “64% noticed an increase in youth staying in unsafe living arrangements, 54% noticed an increase in youth experiencing interpersonal conflict at home, and 43% noticed an increase in youth experiencing domestic violence” (Buchnea and McKitterick 2020: 27). As one service provider noted,

We are also seeing more girls in difficult straits with signs of violence. There is no one on the street to see them when they are working so not only are they at high risk of COVID but of increased victimization. (quoted in Buchnea and McKitterick 2020: 8)

Emerging data suggests that service shutdowns and reduced outreach, combined with fears about contracting COVID-19 in a shelter, are also influencing girls’ choices to return to an abusive home or partner during the pandemic (Lakam 2020). Despite such indications, there remains very limited research on how the pandemic has affected gender-based violence in the lives of girls who are unhoused or precariously housed. This is particularly concerning for girls from equity-seeking groups, most pointedly First Nations, Inuit, and Métis girls, who have already faced both heightened levels of violence pre-pandemic and inequitable access to services and supports (Feminist Alliance for International Action and Palmater 2020).

Discussion

In order to better understand the risks and impacts of COVID-19 on girls who are homeless in Canada, in this article we triangulate existing literature on girls’ homelessness with an analysis of available data on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on women and youth more broadly. Analysis reveals significant gaps in knowledge and data with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on girls who are homeless, despite extensive research that demonstrates the vulnerabilities of this group (Arora-Jonsson 2011; Gaetz et al. 2016). There is very limited knowledge nationally, regionally, and locally about how housing precarity exacerbates exposure to COVID-19 for girls, or how policy responses to COVID-19 are shaping the lives of girls who are homeless during the pandemic. More specifically, there is limited knowledge about how the economic changes driven by the pandemic are affecting girls and girl-led families who are poor, low-wage earners, or precariously housed. Given that a wave of evictions is expected as eviction moratoriums are lifted across the country (Ibrahim and Jamil 2020), previous research suggests that poor and low-income girls and girl-led families may be hit hardest (van Berkum and Oudshoorn 2015).

In order to build equity- and evidence-based policy responses to the pandemic and beyond, gender-segregated research and data will be critical for understanding the course, trajectory, and consequences of COVID-19 on girls who are homeless or precariously housed. There are four particularly urgent topics for further study: how adaptations to service provision in the homelessness and violence against women sectors during COVID-19 have affected diverse girls; access to (and impact of) emergency financial relief and emergency housing for girls who are homeless, engaged in the informal economy, or escaping abusive homes during the pandemic; how access to child care is affecting housing stability and economic security for girls who are homeless during the pandemic; and the scale and consequences of evictions for girls and girl-led families during the pandemic. Most pointedly, there is a clear need for research on which interventions and supports are effectively stabilizing housing for girls who are homeless during the pandemic, and what interventions are showing promise with respect to violence prevention, eviction prevention, and poverty reduction.

Given the disproportionate violence and socio-economic marginalization they face, there is a particular need to understand the experiences of girls from equity-seeking groups during the pandemic, including Black, Indigenous, newcomer, and 2SLGBTQ+ girls. The experiences of these groups within public systems during the pandemic, including the child welfare and healthcare systems, should also be a priority for researchers given evidence that public system failures and violence in public systems are critical pathways into homelessness for marginalized girls (Gaetz et al. 2016; Schwan et al. 2018).

While evidence suggests that girls experiencing homelessness during the pandemic may face deepening disadvantage, the Canadian government's ability to respond effectively will depend on the quality, breadth, and intersectional dimensions of the data it collects. In the absence of improved data collection and expanded research efforts, policymakers may be ill-equipped to ensure that policy and programmatic responses can effectively prevent homelessness for vulnerable girls, or respond to the unique needs of girls who are homeless during the pandemic. There is a dire need to understand whether (and how) the pandemic may be creating a pipeline into housing precarity for low-income or marginalized girls in Canada, and what policy interventions might prevent this. If Canada is indeed committed to a “feminist, intersectional recovery” (Emmanuel 2020: n.p.), researchers can play a key role in ensuring that this approach is made meaningful for girls who are homeless.

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  • Fotheringham, Sarah, Christine A. Walsh, and Anna Burrowes. 2014. “‘A Place to Rest’: The Role of Transitional Housing in Ending Homelessness for Women in Calgary, Canada.” Gender, Place & Culture 21 (7): 834853. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2013.810605

    • Crossref
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  • Gaetz, Stephen, Carolann Barr, Anita Friesen, Bradley Harris, Bernie Pauly, Bruce PearceAllyson Marsolais. 2017. Canadian Definition of Homelessness. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaetz, Stephen, Bill O'Grady, Sean A. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Goertzen, Brianne. 2020. Work Life: Women's Health, Unpaid Care and COVID-19. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 10 May. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/work-life-women%E2%80%99s-health-unpaid-care-and-covid-19

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  • Human Rights Watch. 2020. Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response. 19 March. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response#

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  • Ibrahim, Ismael, and Joey Jamil. 2020. “We Must Act Now to Avoid an Eviction Crisis.” The Globe and Mail, 23 August. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-we-must-act-now-to-avoid-an-eviction-crisis/

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Kidd, Sean A., Stephen Gaetz, and Bill O'Grady. 2017. “The 2015 National Canadian Homeless Youth Survey: Mental Health and Addiction Findings.” The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 62 (7): 493500. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743717702076

    • Crossref
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  • Lakam, Elaine. 2020. “At the Intersection of Vulnerabilities: The Plight of Women and Girls Experiencing Homelessness During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic.” Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 17 April. https://giwps.georgetown.edu/at-the-intersection-of-vulnerabilities-women-and-girls-experiencing-homelessness-during-the-global-coronavirus-pandemic/

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  • Levesque, Anne, and Sophie Thériault. 2020. “Systemic Discrimination in Government Services and Programs and its Impact on First Nations Peoples During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19, ed. Colleen M. Flood, Vanessa MacDonnell, Jane Philpott, Sophie Thériault and Sridhar Venkatapuram, 381392. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdonald, David. 2020. “The Unequal Burden of COVID-19 Joblessness.” Behind the Numbers Blog, 8 May. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/05/08/unequal-burden-covid19-joblessness/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McLanahan, Sara, and Erin L. Kelly. 2006. The Feminization of Poverty. In Handbook of the Sociology of Gender, ed. Janet Saltzman Chafetz, 127145. Boston, MA: Springer.

    • Crossref
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  • Moyser, Melissa, and Amanda Burlock. 2018. Time Use: Total Work Burden, Unpaid Work, and Leisure. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 30 July. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/54931-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 2019. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 3 June. www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ockerman, Emma. 2020. “The Eviction Crisis is already Here and it's Crushing Black Moms.” Vice News, 24 July. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpega/the-eviction-crisis-is-already-here-and-its-crushing-black-moms

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). 2020. Women Most Affected by COVID-19, Should Participate in Recovery Efforts, 22 July. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Women_COVID19.aspx

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwan, Kaitlin, Stephen Gaetz, David French, Melanie Redman, Jesse Thistle, and Erin Dej. 2018. What Would It Take? Youth across Canada Speak Out on Youth Homelessness Prevention. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwan, Kaitlin, Alicia Versteegh, Melissa Perri, Rachel Caplan, Khulud BaigTina Pahlevan Chaleshtari. 2020. The State of Women's Housing Need & Homelessness in Canada: Literature Review. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, Katherine. 2020a. “Women Bearing the Brunt of Economic Losses: One in Five Has Been Laid Off or Had Hours Cut.” Behind the Numbers, 10 April. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/04/10/women-bearing-the-brunt-of-economic-losses-one-in-five-has-been-laid-off-or-had-hours-cut/

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  • Scott, Katherine. 2020b. “Left Behind: Two Decades of Economic Progress for Single Mothers At Risk of Being Wiped Out.” Behind the Numbers, 16 September. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/09/16/left-behind-two-decades-of-economic-progress-for-single-mothers-at-risk-of-being-wiped-out/

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  • Sinha, Maire. 2013. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2011. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11805-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Statistics Canada. 2019. Canadian Residential Facilities for Victims of Abuse, 2017/2018. Statistics Canada Catalogue, 17 April. Ottawa. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190417/dq190417d-eng.htm

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  • Statistics Canada. 2020a. Measuring Labour Market Impacts as COVID-19 Restrictions Gradually Ease, 5 June. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200605/dq200605a-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2020b. Police-Reported Crime Incidents Down During the Early Months of the Pandemic, While Domestic Disturbance Calls Increase, 1 September. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200901/dq200901a-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sylvestre, Marie-Eve, and Céline Bellot. 2014. “Challenging Discriminatory and Punitive Responses to Homelessness in Canada.” In Advancing Social Rights in Canada, Irwin Law, ed., Martha Jackman and Bruce Porter, 130. Toronto: Irwin Law.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thulien, Naomi, S., Denise Gastaldo, Stephen W Hwang, and Elizabeth McCay. 2018. “The Elusive Goal of Social Integration: A Critical Examination of the Socio-Economic and Psychosocial Consequences Experienced by Homeless Young People Who Obtain Housing.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 109 (1): 8998. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-018-0029-6

    • Crossref
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    • Export Citation
  • Thulien, Naomi S., Amanda Noble, Mardi Daley, David French, Stephen Hwang, and Sean Kidd. 2020. Youth Homelessness: Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19. 20 June. https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Pandemic-Proof%20-%20FINAL%20-%20June%2023%202020.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tranjan, Ricardo. 2020. The Rent is Due Soon: Financial Insecurity and COVID-19. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/2020/03/Rent%20is%20due%20soon%20FINAL.pdf

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  • United Nations (UN) Women. 2020. Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, 9 April. https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women-en.pdf?la=en&vs=1406

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • van Berkum, Amy, and Abe Oudshoorn. 2015. Best Practice Guideline for Ending Women's and Girl's Homelessness. London: Women's Community House.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vecchio, Karen. 2019. Surviving Abuse and Building Resilience – A study of Canada's Systems of Shelters and Transition Houses Serving Women and Children Affected by Violence. Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/FEWO/report-15/

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  • Watson, Juliet. 2016. “Gender-Based Violence and Young Homeless Women: Femininity, Embodiment and Vicarious Physical Capital.” The Sociological Review 64 (2): 256273. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12365

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  • Women's National Housing and Homelessness Network. 2020. Call for Urgent Measures as COVID-19 Intensifies Women's Homelessness & Domestic Violence Crises, 6 April. http://womenshomelessness.ca/covid-19-response/

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  • Wright, Teresa. 2020. “Violence Against Indigenous Women During Covid-19 Sparks Calls for MMIWG Plan.” CBC Manitoba, 10 May. www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/violence-against-indigenous-women-action-plan-covid-19-mmiwg-1.5563528

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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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  • Amnesty International. 2020. “Canada's Exclusion of Sex Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Income Supports is Shameful and Violates Human Rights.” Amnesty International, 25 June. https://amnesty.ca/news/canada%E2%80%99s-exclusion-sex-workers-covid-19-emergency-income-supports-shameful-and-violates-human

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  • Benfer, Emily, David Bloom Robinson, Stacy Butler, Lavar Edmonds, Sam Gilman, Katherine Lucas McKay … and Diane Yentel. 2020. “The COVID-19 Eviction Crisis: an Estimated 30-40 Million People in America Are at Risk.” The Aspen Institute, 7 August. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/the-covid-19-eviction-crisis-an-estimated-30-40-million-people-in-america-are-at-risk/

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  • Buchnea, Amanda, and Mary-Jane McKitterick. 2020. Responding to Youth Homelessness During COVID-19 and Beyond: Perspectives From the Youth-Serving Sector in Canada. Toronto, ON: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press and A Way Home Canada. https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/YS%232-CV-19%5BSummary%5D%5BV2%5D_0.pdf

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  • Choi, Kate, Anna Zajacova, Michael Haan, and Patrick Denice. 2020. “Data Linking Race and Health Predicts New COVID-19 Hotspots.” The Conversation, 20 May. https://theconversation.com/data-linking-race-and-health-predicts-new-covid-19-hotspots-138579

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  • Clifford, Ben. 2020. “Coronavirus Pandemic Puts the Spotlight on Poor Housing Quality in England.” The Conversation, 28 April. https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-pandemic-puts-the-spotlight-on-poor-housing-quality-in-england-136453

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  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). 2019. Core Housing Need Data—By the Numbers. Ottawa: CMHC – SCHL. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/data-and-research/core-housing-need/core-housingneed-data-by-the-numbers

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  • Crawford, Devan M., Emily C. Trotter, Kelley J. Sittner Hartshorn, and Les B. Whitbeck. 2011. “Pregnancy and Mental Health of Young Homeless Women.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 81 (2): 173183. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.2011.01086.x.

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  • Crisafi, Denise N., and Jana L. Jasinski. 2016. “Within the Bounds: The Role of Relocation on Intimate Partner Violence Help-Seeking for Immigrant and Native Women with Histories of Homelessness.” Violence Against Women 22 (8): 9861006. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801215613853.

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  • Culhane, Dennis, Stephen Metraux, Jung Min Park, Maryanne Schretzman, and Jesse Valente. 2007. “Testing a Typology of Family Homelessness Based on Patterns of Public Shelter Utilization in Four U.S. Jurisdictions: Implications for Policy and Program Planning.” Housing Policy Debate 18 (1): 128. https://doi.org/10.1080/10511482.2007.9521591.

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  • Culhane, Dennis, Dan Treglia, Ken Steif, Randall Kuhn, and Thomas Byrne. 2020. Estimated Emergency and Observational/Quarantine Capacity Need for the US Homeless Population Related to COVID-19 Exposure by County; Projected Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Units and Mortality. 27 March. http://endhomelessness.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-paper_clean-636pm.pdf

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  • Davis, Angela Y. 2011. Women, Race, & Class. New York: Vintage.

  • Daya, Rumina, and Jon Azpiri. 2020. “Calls to Vancouver Domestic-Violence Crisis Line Spike 300% amid COVID-19 Pandemic.” Global News, 7 April. https://globalnews.ca/news/6789403/domestic-violence-coronavirus/

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  • Elliot, Stephanie, and Scott Leon. 2020. “Crowded Housing and COVID-19: Impacts and Solutions.” Wellesley Institute, 24 July. https://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/healthy-communities/crowded-housing-and-covid-19-impacts-and-solutions/

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  • Emmanuel, Rachel. 2020. “Throne Speech Signals National Child-Care Program is on the Way.” iPolitics, 23 September. https://ipolitics.ca/2020/09/23/throne-speech-signals-child-care-help-for-women-hit-financially-by-covid/

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  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). 2017. Highlights – 2016 Coordinated Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness in Canadian Communities. Ottawa: ESDC. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/canada/employment-social-development/programs/communities/homelessness/reports/highlights/PiT-Doc.pdf

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  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). 2019. Everyone Counts 2018: Preliminary Results from the Second Nationally Coordinated Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness in Canadian Communities. Ottawa: ESDC. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/homelessness/reports/highlights-2018-point-in-time-count.html

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  • Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), and Pamela Palmater. 2020. “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.” FAFIA, 19 June. https://pampalmater.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/P.-Palmater-FAFIA-Submission-COVID19-Impacts-on-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-in-Canada-June-19-2020-final.pdf

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  • Farha, Leilani, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2020. “The Front Line Defence: Housing and Human Rights in the Time of COVID-19.” In Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19, ed. Colleen M. Flood, Vanessa MacDonnell, Jane Philpott, Sophie Thériault and Sridhar Venkatapuram, 355366. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

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    • Export Citation
  • Farmer, Peter. 2004. “An Anthropology of Structural Violence.” Current Anthropology 45 (3): 305325. https://doi.org/10.1086/382250

  • Fotheringham, Sarah, Christine A. Walsh, and Anna Burrowes. 2014. “‘A Place to Rest’: The Role of Transitional Housing in Ending Homelessness for Women in Calgary, Canada.” Gender, Place & Culture 21 (7): 834853. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2013.810605

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaetz, Stephen, Carolann Barr, Anita Friesen, Bradley Harris, Bernie Pauly, Bruce PearceAllyson Marsolais. 2017. Canadian Definition of Homelessness. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaetz, Stephen, Bill O'Grady, Sean A. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goertzen, Brianne. 2020. Work Life: Women's Health, Unpaid Care and COVID-19. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 10 May. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/work-life-women%E2%80%99s-health-unpaid-care-and-covid-19

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  • Human Rights Watch. 2020. Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response. 19 March. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response#

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Ibrahim, Ismael, and Joey Jamil. 2020. “We Must Act Now to Avoid an Eviction Crisis.” The Globe and Mail, 23 August. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-we-must-act-now-to-avoid-an-eviction-crisis/

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Kidd, Sean A., Stephen Gaetz, and Bill O'Grady. 2017. “The 2015 National Canadian Homeless Youth Survey: Mental Health and Addiction Findings.” The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 62 (7): 493500. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743717702076

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lakam, Elaine. 2020. “At the Intersection of Vulnerabilities: The Plight of Women and Girls Experiencing Homelessness During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic.” Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 17 April. https://giwps.georgetown.edu/at-the-intersection-of-vulnerabilities-women-and-girls-experiencing-homelessness-during-the-global-coronavirus-pandemic/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levesque, Anne, and Sophie Thériault. 2020. “Systemic Discrimination in Government Services and Programs and its Impact on First Nations Peoples During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19, ed. Colleen M. Flood, Vanessa MacDonnell, Jane Philpott, Sophie Thériault and Sridhar Venkatapuram, 381392. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdonald, David. 2020. “The Unequal Burden of COVID-19 Joblessness.” Behind the Numbers Blog, 8 May. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/05/08/unequal-burden-covid19-joblessness/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McLanahan, Sara, and Erin L. Kelly. 2006. The Feminization of Poverty. In Handbook of the Sociology of Gender, ed. Janet Saltzman Chafetz, 127145. Boston, MA: Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Moyser, Melissa, and Amanda Burlock. 2018. Time Use: Total Work Burden, Unpaid Work, and Leisure. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 30 July. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/54931-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 2019. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 3 June. www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ockerman, Emma. 2020. “The Eviction Crisis is already Here and it's Crushing Black Moms.” Vice News, 24 July. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpega/the-eviction-crisis-is-already-here-and-its-crushing-black-moms

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). 2020. Women Most Affected by COVID-19, Should Participate in Recovery Efforts, 22 July. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Women_COVID19.aspx

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwan, Kaitlin, Stephen Gaetz, David French, Melanie Redman, Jesse Thistle, and Erin Dej. 2018. What Would It Take? Youth across Canada Speak Out on Youth Homelessness Prevention. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwan, Kaitlin, Alicia Versteegh, Melissa Perri, Rachel Caplan, Khulud BaigTina Pahlevan Chaleshtari. 2020. The State of Women's Housing Need & Homelessness in Canada: Literature Review. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, Katherine. 2020a. “Women Bearing the Brunt of Economic Losses: One in Five Has Been Laid Off or Had Hours Cut.” Behind the Numbers, 10 April. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/04/10/women-bearing-the-brunt-of-economic-losses-one-in-five-has-been-laid-off-or-had-hours-cut/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, Katherine. 2020b. “Left Behind: Two Decades of Economic Progress for Single Mothers At Risk of Being Wiped Out.” Behind the Numbers, 16 September. https://behindthenumbers.ca/2020/09/16/left-behind-two-decades-of-economic-progress-for-single-mothers-at-risk-of-being-wiped-out/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sinha, Maire. 2013. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2011. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11805-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2019. Canadian Residential Facilities for Victims of Abuse, 2017/2018. Statistics Canada Catalogue, 17 April. Ottawa. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190417/dq190417d-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2020a. Measuring Labour Market Impacts as COVID-19 Restrictions Gradually Ease, 5 June. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200605/dq200605a-eng.htm

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2020b. Police-Reported Crime Incidents Down During the Early Months of the Pandemic, While Domestic Disturbance Calls Increase, 1 September. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200901/dq200901a-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sylvestre, Marie-Eve, and Céline Bellot. 2014. “Challenging Discriminatory and Punitive Responses to Homelessness in Canada.” In Advancing Social Rights in Canada, Irwin Law, ed., Martha Jackman and Bruce Porter, 130. Toronto: Irwin Law.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thulien, Naomi, S., Denise Gastaldo, Stephen W Hwang, and Elizabeth McCay. 2018. “The Elusive Goal of Social Integration: A Critical Examination of the Socio-Economic and Psychosocial Consequences Experienced by Homeless Young People Who Obtain Housing.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 109 (1): 8998. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-018-0029-6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thulien, Naomi S., Amanda Noble, Mardi Daley, David French, Stephen Hwang, and Sean Kidd. 2020. Youth Homelessness: Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19. 20 June. https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Pandemic-Proof%20-%20FINAL%20-%20June%2023%202020.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tranjan, Ricardo. 2020. The Rent is Due Soon: Financial Insecurity and COVID-19. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/2020/03/Rent%20is%20due%20soon%20FINAL.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations (UN) Women. 2020. Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, 9 April. https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women-en.pdf?la=en&vs=1406

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • van Berkum, Amy, and Abe Oudshoorn. 2015. Best Practice Guideline for Ending Women's and Girl's Homelessness. London: Women's Community House.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vecchio, Karen. 2019. Surviving Abuse and Building Resilience – A study of Canada's Systems of Shelters and Transition Houses Serving Women and Children Affected by Violence. Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/FEWO/report-15/

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  • Watson, Juliet. 2016. “Gender-Based Violence and Young Homeless Women: Femininity, Embodiment and Vicarious Physical Capital.” The Sociological Review 64 (2): 256273. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12365

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  • Women's National Housing and Homelessness Network. 2020. Call for Urgent Measures as COVID-19 Intensifies Women's Homelessness & Domestic Violence Crises, 6 April. http://womenshomelessness.ca/covid-19-response/

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  • Wright, Teresa. 2020. “Violence Against Indigenous Women During Covid-19 Sparks Calls for MMIWG Plan.” CBC Manitoba, 10 May. www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/violence-against-indigenous-women-action-plan-covid-19-mmiwg-1.5563528

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