Homeism: Naming the stigmatization and discrimination of persons experiencing homelessness

October 20, 2022

Canham, S. L., Moore, P., Custodio, K., & Bosma, H. (2022). Homeism: Naming the stigmatization and discrimination of persons experiencing homelessness. Housing, Theory and Society, 39(5), 507-523. doi:10.1080/14036096.2021.2014558

Full Article


We examined stigmatization and discrimination experienced during the process of hospital discharge by people with lived experience of homelessness (PWLEs). We propose the term “homeism” as the discrimination (behaviour) towards an individual who is homeless; this form of discrimination is the result of negative stereotypes (stigmas) towards individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Based on a qualitative secondary data analysis of interviews with 20 shelter/housing and healthcare providers and 20 PWLEs, we identified four categories related to homeism: 1) who stigmatizes PWLEs and where stigmatization and discrimination occur, 2) reasons why PWLEs experience stigmatization and discrimination, 3) outcomes of stigmatization and discrimination, and 4) recommendations to reduce or eliminate stigma and discrimination. We propose a conceptual model that depicts the processes of homeism, including precursors, experiences, and outcomes. By naming homeism, we aim to instigate housing activism and future scholarship on this phenomenon to be pursued alongside interventions aimed at eliminating homeism.


Homelessness; healthcare; discrimination; stigma; hospital discharge