2015 CPSA Three Minutes Thesis Prize
Winner: Alison Smith (Université de Montréal)
Filling the Gap : Cities and the Fight Against Homelessness in Canada
Abstract: In big cities across Canada, groups of people are coming together to reduce or eliminate homelessness. But the governance of homelessness at the local level – who decides, who implements, who oversees – is very different. In Vancouver, the governance is fragmented whereas it is highly centralized in Calgary. In Toronto the city takes the lead and in Montréal, new groups are currently starting to take form. What explains this difference? In addition to provincial context, I find that the local context – including the relative power of civil society actors as well as municipal government powers relating to housing policy – are the driving forces behind these very different governance networks. Chronic homelessness is a relatively new phenomenon, and it is understudied in Canadian political science. An extreme for of poverty and marginalization this research is an important contribution to our understanding of the production of social protection and the evolution of the welfare state in Canada.