The creation of supportive housing programs to reduce the vulnerability of single mothers: a Montreal case study

Authors: Marie-Eve Desroches*,
Topics: Women, Geography and Urban Health, Canada
Keywords: ethic of care; housing; public health; geographies of mothering
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Families are essential nodes of care. However, death, marital breakdown, domestic violence, and job loss are just a few examples of events that trigger a spiral of vulnerability that affects the possibilities and abilities to care for our families and ourselves. Because of the gender roles surrounding care, these events are highly significant for single mothers. The purpose of this paper is to explore how housing interventions may be tools to break down cycles of vulnerability and thus promote health. By using the ethics of care as a lens for analyzing a supportive housing program, our communication seeks to offer an original perspective to reconnect housing, public health, and local policies. This paper is based on a case study of the policy process and the local governance that enable the construction of a supportive housing program for single mothers in Montreal. The paper points out that the processes allowing the creation of this program aim to provide more than roof for these families but to widen and to transform the mother’s caringscape so that they may take care of themselves, their family and their community. It turns out that these healthy and supportive homes are influencing social determinants of health and thus breaking the cycle of vulnerability. Therefore, this housing intervention promotes the health of mothers, of their children and their districts.

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