Alison Smith (University of Toronto) and SPPA  Associate Professor Anna Kopec have published the paper “Mapping Homelessness Research in Canada” in the American Review of Canadian Studies, 53(1), 42-62 (2023). DOI:


What is known about homelessness in Canada? In this article, we present the results of a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed research produced on homelessness in Canada, in English and French, since 2000. We seek to map this literature in an effort at understanding how homelessness has been studied by researchers and to identify potential gaps in this impressive body of literature. The literature review included a two-stage process. First, we analyzed almost 1000 articles specifically regarding homelessness according to title, journal, and case. Then, we conducted a qualitative abstract analysis of 251 papers written by the ten most prolific scholars of homelessness research, analyzing the research question, methods, and recommendations. We find that the majority of research on homelessness in Canada has been in large cities (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal). Research is often conducted in comparative perspective, though there have been fewer international comparisons, and often from a public health or medical science perspective. We argue that social scientists have a lot to contribute to this field of study by analyzing the structural and political causes of homelessness, and that researchers should study small, mid-sized, northern, and rural communities in their studies as well as big cities.  Read full open source article