Dr. Kaitlin Schwan: Homelessness Stigma & Lifting As You Climb


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Aug 12 2020 35 mins  

Dr. Kaitlin Schwan is Lead Researcher for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, and Director of Research for The Shift. Kaitlin teaches social policy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work, where she is appointed Assistant Professor, Status Only. She is also a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (York University). Since completing her PhD in Social Work at the University of Toronto, Kaitlin’s research has focused on homelessness prevention in Canada and beyond, particularly for women and youth. Across her work, Kaitlin uses research to build bridges between evidence, advocacy, policy, and lived expertise in order to advance housing justice for all. You can follow The Shift here and Kaitlin here.

In this episode Kaitlin shares the importance of understanding the ways that stigma produces invisibility of people who are unhoused. Kaitlin talks about shelter practices that deepen feelings of shame, stigma and increase exposure to violence, as well as human rights violations in public spaces. We talk about the need for a radical redistribution of wealth, a tackling of poverty, and a reflection on policies and everyday practices that exacerbate vulnerabilities of people who are unhoused. We discuss the need to trust people who are unhoused as the experts in their own lives, and engage all people as members of our community. Finally Kaitlin reminds us of the importance of lifting as you climb.

Episode hosted by Dr. Carmen Logie. Supported by funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canada Research Chairs program. Original music and podcast produced by Jupiter Productions, who have various production services available to support your podcast needs.