Social Determinants of Health and Stories of Homelessness in Fort Mcmurray, Canada
International Journal of Case Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, March 2015
9 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2016
Date Written: March 2015
Little research has been conducted to investigate the needs and challenges of homeless individuals living in FM. In this paper, the social determinant of health that exacerbated homelessness in Fort McMurray, Canada, were highlighted. The study implemented a participatory action research design. In-depth open-ended life history interviews were conducted individually with 15 participant which were experiencing homelessness at the time of the study. Common threads were identified across shared experiences embedded within the broad social, cultural, and institutional macro system. These adults face difficult daily challenges including finding adequate and affordable housing and food, securing a safe place to sleep, overcoming addictions and consequently avoiding the rampant availability of drugs and alcohol. Many of FM’s homeless also deal with job loss, physical and mental health problems, dangerous environments, and traumatic histories of hardship. Many have been exposed to histories of addictions and depression. The homeless population of FM experiences multiple barriers to survival, including a limited number of available shelter beds, restrictive shelter rules, and high rental-housing costs. The unique economic situation in FM impacts homeless people as a result of the extremely high cost of living, and job turnover fuelled by pull factors associated with the oil industry. Addressing homelessness in FM will need a multisectoral, multidisciplinary approach, and political commitment to attend to the SDOH that are exacerbating the problem. This can only be achieved by the full participation of all the different sectors involved and the people affected, the homeless.
Keywords: Homelessness, Social Determinants of Health, Fort McMurray
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