Multiple Barriers: The Multilevel Governance of Homelessness in Canada
Published: July 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 382 Pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w figures, 2 b&w tables
Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25
Despite decades of efforts to combat homelessness, many people continue to experience it in Canada’s major cities. There are a number of barriers that prevent effective responses to homelessness, including a lack of agreement on the fundamental question: what is homelessness?
In Multiple Barriers, Alison Smith explores the forces that shape intergovernmental and multilevel governance dynamics to help better understand why, despite the best efforts of community and advocacy groups, homelessness remains as persistent as ever. Drawing on nearly 100 interviews with key actors in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, as well as extensive participant observation, Smith argues that institutional differences across cities interact with ideas regarding homelessness to contribute to very different models of governance. Multiple Barriers shows that the genuine involvement of locally based service providers, with the development of policy, are necessary for an effective, equitable, and enduring solution to the homelessness crisis in Canada.
3. Governance Matters
4. Federal Government
Conclusion: Filling the Prescription
Appendix 1: List of Interviews
"In this well-researched and clearly written book, Alison Smith draws on extensive interview data and participant observation to unpack the governance of homelessness. Her argument that the interaction between existing institutional legacies and ideas about homelessness shapes the governance of homelessness is both novel and convincing. People interested in homelessness in Canada and, more broadly, students of social policy governance should read and engage with this excellent book."Daniel Béland, Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, McGill University
"Through rich case studies of homelessness policy in four major cities in Canada, Alison Smith constructs a compelling and nuanced case for making ideas central to the study of multilevel governance in Canada. The case studies are engagingly written, drawing on an impressive variety of data including close to 100 semi-structured interviews. Multiple Barriers is a pioneering work in the study of multilevel governance in Canada."Kristin R. Good, Associate Professor of Political Science, Dalhousie University
"Alison Smith set an ambitious goal to understand the emergence of complex multilevel governance relationships in the domain of homelessness in Canada’s major cities, and the payoff is enormous both in terms of policy theory – namely the powerful role of ideas – and practical lessons for intergovernmental and civil society coordination at the local level. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the modern welfare state in Canada."Carey Doberstein, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia