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Abstract

A common explanation of immigrants' under-representation among the homeless population in Canada is that kinship and community networks act as a buffer to absolute homelessness. There are indications that immigrant homelessness is, however, increasing, suggesting that the buffering capacity of social networks reaches a limit. Further, evidence of precarious housing situations indicates that we should approach this form of housing provision with some caution. This paper draws on a larger study of housing difficulties among immigrants in Calgary to address the ways in which social capital serves a buffering role, and under what conditions it loses its ability to prevent absolute homelessness.

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