Parents are the primary influence in their children’s lives. It is a great and necessary thing for training up a child. Unfortunately, many children who grow up seeing drug and alcohol abuse, violence, or who experience neglect, grow up to be broken people. The life they know how to live does not fit with societal norms.
Practically, this can look as simple as not having been taught how to cook or manage time. Or it can be more complicated – having not been taught these things, plus having been traumatized by years of neglect or abuse. Sometimes it looks like refusal to submit to the rules of a boss or landlord.
Many who newly arrive in Canada cannot legally earn money for the first while. They may not have family, friends, or any connection at all in this new country. Language barriers may also exist. Some are fleeing war torn countries, and are traumatized by what they’ve seen and experienced. These can be huge barriers to securing the necessities of life.
"Nearly 1.3 million Canadians are looking for work," according to NDP Finance Critic Nathan Cullen. Of those who have jobs, “a quarter of families [have] no access to ready, rainy-day funds.” (Brookings Institution study) We live hand to mouth, pay check to pay check. “Although financial fragility is more severe among low-income households, a sizeable fraction of seemingly middle-class Americans are also at risk,” the study concluded. 
The sudden loss of that paycheck can wreak havoc on a person’s finances immediately. Job security is a myth. Sure, there are things a person can do to increase his chances for keeping their job, but ultimately, it is not something we control. Job loss can happen to anyone, any time, and for any reason.
Lack of Connection
This is by far the biggest reason people suffer in poverty and homelessness. If one has friends, family, or some kind of community they are a part of, then when tough times hit, that community helps him. In a way, our independence is killing us. We forget how much we need each other (or, due to a past of brokenness and pain we are afraid to build essential relationships).
Often, people come to SCO with loneliness. They have no family or, if they do, the relationship is broken. We need each other, it’s just that simple. Otherwise, who will help lift us up when we fall?
Many people come into SCO for the connection – to see a familiar face, a friend who welcomes them. Some say plainly how sad or lonely they are. Others have a weary look in their eyes. Still others talk about their life, revealing how alone and empty it is. And they come here. For their physical needs to be met, but also for the connection they long for. “You have no idea how much this means to me” they say, “It was good to see you again”. Even in their sadness, they leave glad to be known and welcomed.
It’s important to recognize these reasons – not to assign labels or categorize ‘cases’ – but to see the person beyond the circumstance. Poverty and homelessness can happen for many reason, and can really happen to anyone.
 “The Cost of Hand-to-Mouth Living”, Financial Times Magazine online edition http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/f5763610-b2bb-11e2-8540-00144feabdc0.html