Out in the Open·Full Episode

Hidden Homelessness

Nearly one in 10 Canadians have reported experiencing 'hidden homelessness', when you temporarily have nowhere to stay, so you resort to things like couch surfing and sleeping in your car. This week, Piya sheds light on some of the different ways homelessness can be hidden, with people who've experienced it themselves.

Piya sheds light on some of the ways homelessness can be hidden, with people who've experienced it themselves

Grace Richards lives what she describes as a "shack" in Conklin, Alta. (Photo by Sky Seidel )
Listen to the full episode54:00

Nearly one in 10 Canadians have reported experiencing "hidden homelessness", when you temporarily have nowhere to stay, so you resort to things like couch surfing and sleeping in your car. This week, Piya sheds light on some of the different ways homelessness can be hidden, with people who've experienced it themselves.

Here are the stories from this week's episode:

'It is very hard living': What it's like to be homeless in rural Alberta

Grace Richards resides in Conklin, Alberta, a largely Métis community about an hour and a half south of Fort McMurray. She's currently living in a trailer on someone else's land, leaving her at risk of being asked to leave any day. Grace speaks with Piya about her area's housing crisis, how rural homelessness looks different than in urban areas, and why she thinks we need to re-frame homelessness among Indigenous people.

She went from luxe condo living to sofas and shelters in her 60s

Shirley Berry and her husband used live in a luxurious Toronto condo, dined out often, and had two cars and a sailboat to their names. But after they made some poor financial decisions and illness struck her husband, Shirley found herself sleeping on a sofa bed in her son's bachelor apartment and in rooming houses. She tells Piya how homelessness was hidden even to herself, and how the experience changed her view of people without secure housing.

How this B.C. mother navigated homelessness with two kids in tow

Megan McConkey considers herself lucky. Today, she lives in subsidized housing, with her two kids in Burnaby, British Columbia. But for part of last year, she didn't have a stable place of her own. Megan tells Piya about the unique challenges of navigating hidden homelessness as a family, and how she strung together different housing opportunities to make things work.

How this woman learned to live on the streets while finishing high school

As a teenager, Share Ryan says her parents deprived her of an education, and she suffered abuse by her father. So at 17, she left home and ended up living on the streets of Ottawa. But she continued to go to high school, graduating with honours, and eventually went on to university. Share tells Piya how she managed to thrive while homeless, and why she kept that part of her past hidden from others for a long time -- including her own husband.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.