On The Edge of the Bubble: Homelessness and Near Homelessness on the Rural-Urban Fringe in Canada


  • Laura Pin Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Tobin LeBlanc Haley University of New Brunswick Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada


This paper provides both a theoretical and empirical intervention into housing research, by applying the geospatial lens of the rural-urban fringe (RUF) to the social problem of homelessness, a conceptual linkage absent in the Canadian context. Drawing on original data from 80 surveys, 4 focus groups, and a community feedback session, we identify and interrogate key local impacts of systemic shifts in the housing market and associated policy responses (or inaction) in Dufferin, Ontario, a RUF community located 80km northwest of Toronto. We find that for people experiencing homelessness or near homelessness on the RUF, the intersecting consequences of multiple forms of structural marginalization, such as low wages and social assistance rates and discrimination, can quickly destabilize housing, as fewer resources are available in comparison with large urban areas. We emphasize the importance of attending to housing in RUF communities and developing housing policy strategies.

Author Biography

Laura Pin, Wilfrid Laurier University

Assistant Professor, Political Science Department