Experiences of Environmental Justice and Injustice in Communities of People Experiencing Homelessness
AbstractPeople experiencing homelessness have a particular vulnerability to environmental hazards, yet there is little attention paid to the issue of homelessness in environmental justice literature. The current study is a phenomenological inquiry into the experiences of environmental justice and injustice in a community of people who are experiencing homelessness. To understand how people who experience homelessness in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, community conceptualize and experience their environment in terms of cleanliness, healthfulness, safety, and justice, 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted with people experiencing absolute homelessness in Kitchener and Cambridge, Ontario. Analysis shows that although knowledge of systemic environmental injustices is all but absent in this community, particular phenomena do stand out as critical issues, such as substandard rooming houses, drugs and alcohol, litter and pollution, and the behavior of police officers and city officials. Analysis also unveiled a significant dissatisfaction with municipal decision-making processes .