Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2009: Carleton University researchers launch groundbreaking project to determine the risk of homelessness

    OTTAWA, May 26 /CNW Telbec/ - More than 150,000 Canadians are homeless.
Thousands more are deemed to be at risk. It's estimated that 700,000
households nation-wide are spending more than half of their income on shelter,
leaving them at considerable risk of homelessness. Many others, especially
children, are living in inadequate or sub-standard housing.
    "We wanted to examine how our cybercartographic research is relevant to
cities," says Dr. Fraser Taylor, distinguished research professor at Carleton
University in Ottawa. So he and PhD student Tracey Lauriault created the first
national interactive online Atlas that looks at the risk of homelessness in
Canada. "Our new Atlas shows where the risks of homelessness are and provides
policy-makers with the information they need to address the challenges."
    Speaking at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the two
researchers revealed that they incorporated 25 risk indicators such as vacancy
rates, the number of families spending 50 percent of their income on rent,
housing starts, the number of rent geared-to-income units and age of social
housing units.
    "Together, all of these factors can help policy-makers, politicians and
other interested parties more readily distinguish trends, patterns and
specific issues they are facing on the homelessness front," says Lauriault.
"For example, anyone who looks at our Atlas can quickly see the face and
pattern of social housing in cities such as Toronto."
    The pilot study was conducted in partnership with the Federation of
Canadian Municipalities Quality of Life Reporting System, which focused on the
City of Toronto, la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) and the City
of Calgary.
    The City of Calgary says that the Atlas is a powerful interactive tool
that can be used to show how Calgary compares to other cities in terms of
households at risk of becoming homeless. "The variation within neighbourhoods
will enable us to deliver some key messages to communities quickly and
    The Atlas was designed using the Nunaliit Cybercartographic Atlas
Framework ( which is an open source software designed at
the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University.
    This research project is one of hundreds of new and exciting social
science projects being unveiled this week by thousands of delegates attending
Congress 2009 at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Congress is organized
by the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. It is the
largest multidisciplinary academic gathering in Canada, attracting delegates
from every corner of Canada and around the world.

For further information:

For further information: Dr. D. R. F. Taylor, Distinguished Research
Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton
University, (613) 520-2600, ext. 8232,; Tracey P.
Lauriault, PhD Student, Carleton University, PhD Student, Carleton University,
(613) 234-2805,; Lin Moody, Media Relations, Carleton
University, (613) 371-4843,

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