Tsang, Kirubainathan, Igros, Senkiw, The Rising Problem of Homelessness in Later Life: Exploring Health and Social Service Provision in Toronto (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars

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The Rising Problem of Homelessness in Later Life: Exploring Health and Social Service Provision in Toronto

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted health disparities in Canada’s long term care home system, and in housing and homelessness services. However, there has been less discussion on the intersecting inequalities of ageism (discrimination against individuals based on their old age) and socioeconomic inequalities (e.g. unaffordable housing & lack of government support), which result in compounding vulnerabilities. Historically marginalized groups experiencing homelessness are expected to encounter unique compounding barriers in later life, as a result of additional intersecting inequalities (i.e.  colonialism, homophobia, racism, sexism). This includes Indigenous, LGBTQ+, immigrants, and other racialized groups who are over-represented in the homeless population in Toronto, and in Canada as a whole.

As part of a Masters of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy graduate-level research project, we spoke to service providers, gathering their insights to better understand the complexities of service provision for this population. We heard many stories of hope, resilience, and like-minded people coming together to preserve dignity for older adults who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. However, the current state of the service system is not sustainable. Service providers encounter many obstacles to providing adequate care, which can lead to burnout, further decreasing care. Meanwhile, the older adults they support are also stuck in a cycle of poverty. These systemic challenges affect some of the most vulnerable in our society – those at the intersection of age and homelessness. In this presentation, we will explore these complexities through an intersectional lens, and offer change ideas from our research.

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This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

Amie Tsang, O.T. Reg. (Ont.), is an occupational therapist and freelance journalist whose career is dedicated to working in partnership with presently and historically marginalized populations, centring narratives of personal resilience in systemic oppression. She has frontline experience in mental health and housing and is most recently the Health Equity Facilitator at CMHA-Toronto. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of OS&OT at the University of Toronto and a recent graduate of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism.   


Layana Kirubainathan is a recent graduate of the Master of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Toronto. She is also an alumna of the University of Waterloo’s Health Studies program. Her research interests lie in exploring social determinants of health, wellness, health equity and access for immigrant, refugee, and marginalized populations. Her masters level research project, completed with her research partner, Tiffany Igros, explored the experiences of service providers working with older adults at risk of or experiencing
homelessness in Toronto. 


Tiffany Igros is a recent graduate from the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Toronto. She has also received her bachelors of science in Physiology and Immunology at the University of Toronto. Together with her research partner, Layana Kirubainathan, they explored the experiences of service providers working within the aging and homelessness sector and received the Aging and Caregiving Award at the Thelma Cardwell Research Day. Her clinical experiences and interests involve working with older adults within rehabilitation and acute care settings. 


Luba Senkiw is a Hons. Bachelor of Social Work graduate from X (Ryerson) University with a minor in politics. Luba also holds a diploma in Practical Nursing from Humber College. Her work was primarily in mental health and housing, and she loves being a part of both helping professions. Luba is currently a Leukemia Warrior. She is a volunteer at Positive Living Niagara, making safe inhalation kits, and she is an outspoken, mad-identified advocate. At the moment, being a caregiver to her dad and beating Leukemia take up most of Luba’s time.  


Thu, Dec 2, 2021
04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin