Though they account for only a small portion of the formal homeless statistics, there are many more women living on insufficient funds, with violent partners, in unacceptable dwellings, or in other fragile circumstances that are too often overlooked. They are our mothers, our daughters, our aunts, our nieces, our wives—they are all our sisters—and they remain largely invisible compared to homeless men.
Susan Scott interviewed more than 60 women facing homelessness across Canada. Part of her agreement with these women was to tell their stories in the way they would want to have them told. With uncompromising honesty and a deep sense of empathy, Scott recounts their stories while highlighting the many underlying problems they face. These include personal histories of abuse, addiction, and violence, as well as systemic conditions of gentrification, a paucity of affordable housing, and a lack of social services sensitive to women's needs.
All Our Sisters is essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about the conditions facing homeless women in Canada.
"Most notable is Scott's insistence on extracting insight from the unlikeliest of sources. Barb, a forty-nine-year-old former homeless woman with multiple personalities, emerges as one of the most self-aware, articulate, and reflective women in the book. 'You have to give us back the hope we may never have had,' she says, summing up the challenge policy-makers and social service workers face: the near-impossibility of teaching 'new coping skills' to women whose indifferent or abusive families never prepared them for the world.