Homeless for the First Time in Later Life: Uncovering More Than One Pathway

Increasingly, researchers have recognized the heterogeneity with the growing population of older homeless adults in Canada. However, scant research has considered the complex pathways into first-time homelessness from the perspective of older adults themselves. This study aimed to address this gap by exploring the pathways of 15 adults, aged 50 years and older, into late-life homelessness. Our study revealed that different pathways into homelessness require divergent strategies of prevention and support. For individuals with gradual moves, strengthening pre-homeless social supports and addressing social distress may have mitigated the eventual loss of housing. For individuals with rapid pathways, homelessness may have been prevented if independence and self-sufficiency were less idealized in our society.