Western University professor launches academic journal on homelessness

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An assistant professor and housing advocate at Western University is launching a global academic journal on homelessness, a platform for new perspectives that he says can help address the chronic problem here.

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The new International Journal on Homelessness will feature original research articles, systematic reviews of existing data and discussion articles written by academics, agency executives and people with lived experience, said Abe Oudshoorn, editor. chief of the newspaper and assistant professor of nursing at Western.

“In fact, there is so much being done in the world about what is a pervasive problem on a global scale. We really need to be able to share and learn from each other globally about housing and homelessness, ”said Oudshoorn.

Abe oudshoorn
Abe oudshoorn

While there are other academic journals on homelessness, existing publications tend to focus on Western countries, their research and expertise, Oudshoorn said.

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The aim of the new journal is to cultivate a global perspective on homelessness, with a focus on research, data and discussion papers from non-Western countries.

“When we try to solve social problems, we often have this narrow lens of our own realities. In London, we often think of London or Ontario or just Canada, ”said Oudshoorn.

“There are so many countries where homelessness is a bigger problem than in Canada and they have a lot more experience solving it, but they don’t have the privileges that we have in terms of sharing their knowledge. . “

The journal accepts submissions in different languages ​​and will find reviewers who are fluent in those languages ​​if needed, Oudshoorn said.

“The other thing that was important for us was to recognize how much knowledge we lack if we continue the academic tradition of prioritizing English and knowledge of countries with a lot of money,” he said. he declares.

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Research submitted to the journal is subjected to double-blind peer review, a common academic process where reviewers and authors do not know each other’s identities in order to reduce potential bias.

The journal has an editorial board made up of academic members from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. The project is supported by the Institute of Global Homelessness in Chicago and Western University.

The open access journal is accepting submissions for its first edition until January 31 and is expected to publish by mid-2021.

Although the project has been in the works for more than two years, its launch comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical gaps in support for marginalized or homeless people.

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The spring lockdown restrictions triggered changes in the way health care and social services are delivered, factors that have negatively impacted homeless people in London, advocates say.

Almost 75% more homeless Londoners have died so far this year compared to last year, a total that started to rise in early spring and continued into summer in line with the first wave of the pandemic. From January to October 2020, 33 people who had no housing – or were previously homeless – died in London, up from 19 during the same period in 2019.

The pandemic has brought to light the tensions in our system, Oudshoorn said. He is confident that the international articles and research published in the new journal will provide new information on how to tackle local homelessness during and after the pandemic.

“Our fundamental belief is that homelessness is preventable and that homelessness can be ended,” he said.

“We believe that good ideas exist and that they are tested and therefore we need to implement them, both globally and locally. Hope the kind of knowledge we are sharing through the journal will absolutely help us (here).

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