In a study of 22 Canadian rural communities, Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff and Alina Turner researched the dynamics behind rural homelessness and tried to discern what exactly makes it distinct from its urban (and much more visible) counterpart.
So, what's so different about rural homelessness?
4. The 'migration solution' . One of the strategies used by those who experience homelessness in rural areas is migration to nearby communities or larger cities with better housing, services, employment and education opportunities. In fact, they are encouraged to relocate by their families and friends and support workers; community leaders and public opinion may push "problem individuals" out as well. This is certainly the case for victims of domestic violence who have little choice to escape abusive situations in small communities.
Because larger centres also offer more "anonymity" for those seeking help, migration is often seen as a viable solution. Of course, this requires uprooting from one's home community and losing important social ties and connections.
Aboriginal migration impacts homelessness in rural communities significantly, particularly where proximity to Aboriginal communities exists and where rural centres act as access points to services and opportunities. This was particularly evident in the case of Aboriginal women, youth and children fleeing violence who sought support in rural communities with available services and shelters.