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Redefining Solutions for Homeless in Canada

In this case study, we'll be calling them survivors.

Study & Prototype



There are approximately 235,000 homeless people in Canada, but the figure may be grossly underestimated because the number of hidden homeless people is unknown.Studies suggests that as many as 1.3 million Canadians have experienced homelessness or extremely insecure housing at some point during the past five years.

Statistics based on types of homelessness

  • when they have been continuously homeless for at least 1 year or have had at least 4 episodes of homelessness in the past 3 years


  • Individuals, often with disabling conditions, who are currently homeless and have experienced 3/+ episodes of homelessness in the past year 

  • “Transitional housing is conceptualized as an intermediate step between emergency crisis shelter and permanent housing. It is more long-term, service-intensive and private than emergency shelters, yet remains time-limited to stays of three months to 3 years"

*There may be as many as 50,000 “hidden homeless" Canadians on a given night. Often referred to as couch surfing


As a research lead for this project I led the research process using validated and un-validated studies, along with research using moderated, structured and un-structured interviews followed by data sorting & validation along with the team, later engaging into design and prototyping as well.




To identify, we used the honeycomb design method, the process was easily transferred into research as a method to ease out the validation process.








What did we find?

  • 29% of surviving families are headed by a working adult, usually the mother.

  • More than half of homeless survivors are mothers, do not have a high school diploma.

  • Approximately 63% of women survivors have been victims of domestic violence.

  • Surviving children are more likely to suffer from hunger, poor physical and emotional health.

  • They are less likely to attend school, and more likely to fall behind in class.

  • While the number of surviving children in America is estimated at 1.6 million, many estimates suggest the number could be far higher, as homeless statistics are often under-reported at the city, county and state levels.

Market Research


Identifying Gaps



At this stage, I started filtering through the research and data by analyzing and defining the actual process.

What we’ve done ?

Research & Discovery

Generating Interviews

Data Sorting



  • Through Interviews

  • shelter homes

  • Donation drivers

  • Not for profit Organisations

  • Government of Canada

  • With the survivors & sorting their experience with all areas of their lives

  • What could be the best possible approach?

  • Conducted more than 20 Interviews - Moderated, Unmoderated

  • Week 1

  • Week 2

  • Week 4

  • Week 5

Interview Insights:

1.The full question is: "Have you ever been homeless, that is, having to live in a homeless shelter, on the street or in parks, in a makeshift shelter or in an abandoned building?".


2.The full question is: "Have you ever had to temporarily live with family or friends, or anywhere else because you had nowhere else to live?".


3.Age is at the survey date and not when the individual was experiencing homelessness.


4.Estimates based on the Canadian Housing Survey 2021 territorial data are representative of households in the territorial capitals only.

Distribution of population with homelessness experience by selected socio-demographic characteristics, Canadian Housing Survey, 2018 and 2021, the numbers rise up to 7% more each year after this census.


With all the resources Canada has—financial and otherwise—our food-waste problem shouldn't be anywhere near as big as it is: 60 per cent of the food we produce is thrown out every year, a third of which is edible at the time it's tossed = 35.5 million tonnes

What is the unemployment rate in Canada 2023?

Canada's labour market ends 2023 on a dull note
The unemployment rate held steady at 5.8% and the participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 65.4%. Employment by sector showed gains in professional, scientific and technical services (+46k), health care and social assistance (+16k), and other services (+12k)

To quote Canada's Homeless Hub directly:

“Studies find that 63% to 90% of youth experiencing homelessness did not complete high school despite being the age to have done so.”

Education + Awareness + Transport & Mobilty + Beauraucratic Processes

Cause Analysis:

Lack of Trust, increased mental health issues, indulging into substance and abuse + Inadequacy in resources and capacity.

Why aren't the survivors able to access the services meant for them?

Lack of:


This cycle keeps looping until there is an external break applied to it, so the real challenge is to identify conventional and unconventional methods to bring in solution to break this loop.

Also the Challenge

What can be done to design a solution which would amalgamate resources available with the survivors in need in an accessible way?

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