The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of a scoping review on the health challenges of families experiencing homelessness. There is a bi-directional relationship between health and homelessness in that poor health can increase the risk of housing loss, and experiencing homelessness is bad for one’s health. The experience of homelessness differs between populations and this review focuses on families as one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. While research has been integrated on the causes of homelessness for families, this same integration has not been conducted looking at health challenges of families experiencing homelessness.
A scoping review methodology is utilized in the paper. As the goal of this work is to ultimately develop interventions for a Canadian context, primacy is given to Canadian sources, but other relevant literature is also included.
A clear distinction is seen in the literature between health challenges of children of homeless families and health challenges of parents. These themes are explored separately, and preliminary recommendations are made for potential points of intervention as personal, program and policy levels.
This review of current evidence is an important first step in building a foundation for interventions to improve health outcomes for those experiencing housing loss.
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