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.