Homeless Canadian veterans ask for social service with a military structure and adherence to schedule, and housing and help for addictions that can surface years down the road.
Homeless youth want less structure and looser schedules, and help dealing with either housing or addictions, generally not both at once.
London book examines intersection of homelessness, poverty, mental illness
The different needs and different practical solutions for helping different groups facing poverty, homelessness and psychiatric illness — and the social exclusion haunting their lives — is the subject of a new book developed in London and published to help communities across Canada.
“We could have a book talking about poverty and social exclusion and homelessness and have a big research study that says it’s horrible. We all know it’s horrible. I think what’s more important is to come up with solutions,” London researcher Cheryl Forchuk said at a launch Wednesday of Poverty, Mental Health, and Social Inclusion, published by Canadian Scholars and co-edited by herself and London sociologist Rick Csiernik.
“We hope (this) will also be a way forward for other communities to look at, and have hope that despite the difficult problems that are involved, that we can solve problems when we work together and across sectors,” Forchuk said.
Forchuk is assistant scientific director at the Lawson Research Centre and lead researcher for a collaboration bringing together academics and community workers called the Community-University Research Alliance.
The alliance has undertaken research projects with practical applications for more than a decade in London, with the first stage working on homelessness and mental health.
The second stage has focused on the links among poverty, social exclusion and psychiatric survivors, Forchuk said.
The book launched Wednesday includes chapters written by researchers representing 19 academic disciplines, community leaders and mental health consumers, she said.
Academics write books that rarely sell well and describe them as labours of love, said co-editor Csiernik, a professor King’s University College at Western University.
“This really was a labour of respect. The group the book examines . . . is a group that is typically overlooked and ignored in our society and is generally invisible, and is even more so now during the extraordinary times we’ll all experiencing during the pandemic,” he said. “The goal was to always to offer solutions for social inclusion to make these invisible members of our community be seen and have a voice to be heard.”
During the creation of the book, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and put everyone into 15 months of social restrictions, Csiernik said.
“We all now have this sense of what, for a really brief period of time, not to be socially connected is like and I think that allows us to appreciate in a much more personal manner what a lifetime of social exclusion might feel like,” he said.
The solutions have to include the voices of people using services, said Betty Edwards, executive director at Can-Voice, a consumer-survivor group, and community director for the alliance.
It’s also going to take people from different sectors, such as income support, health care, housing and social services, to “move the needle” on the intersecting problems, she said.
Poverty, Mental Health, and Social Inclusion can be ordered at canadianscholars.ca/books/poverty-mental-health-and-social-inclusion.
Original Article: https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/london-book-examines-intersection-of-homeless-poverty-mental-illness