Housing as a Determinant of Health for Young Mothers in Rural Nova Scotia
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Housing is a fundamental human right. In Nova Scotia, affordable housing options are very limited, particularly in rural areas. Therefore, many Nova Scotians are not accessing acceptable housing. This has negative health implications. The guiding research question for this thesis was whether current Nova Scotian housing policies are meeting the needs of young mothers receiving social assistance and residing in a rural community. A total of eleven semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with young mothers, service providers, and policy decision-makers. Resulting themes include: the disconnect between policies and young mothers’ lives, the lack of rural consideration of policies and the importance of social support networks in the fulfillment of young mothers’ needs. The current housing and social assistance policies are not meeting the needs of young mothers, as they often lack considerations related to rural context. The acceptable housing definition requires revision, as young mothers’ opinions and specific needs such as location and feelings of safety are neglected.