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Qualitatively Exploring the Intersection of Health and Housing Needs in Canadian Crowdfunding Campaigns

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BackgroundOnline crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe fundraise millions of dollars annually for campaigners. Medical crowdfunding is a very popular campaign type, with campaigners often requesting funds to cover basic health and medical care needs. Here we explore the ways that health needs intersect with housing needs in Canadian crowdfunding campaigns. In Canada, both health and housing needs may be addressed through legislative or policy intervention, are public health priorities, and are perceived as entitlements related to people's basic human rights. We specifically develop a classification scheme of these intersections.MethodsWe extensively reviewed Canadian crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe, the largest charitable crowdfunding platform, using a series of keywords to form the basis of the classification scheme. Through this process we identified five categories of intersection. We extracted 100 campaigns, 20 for each category, to ascertain the scope of these categories.ResultsFive categories form the basis of the classification scheme: (1) instances of poor health creating the need to temporarily or permanently relocate to access care or treatment; (2) house modification funding requests to enhance mobility or otherwise meet some sort of health-related need; (3) campaigns posted by people with health needs who were not able to afford housing costs, which may be due to the cost of treatment or medication or the inability to work due to health status; (4) campaigns seeking funding to address dangerous or unhealthy housing that was negatively impacting health; and (5) people describing an ongoing cyclical relationship between health and housing need.Conclusions This analysis demonstrates that health and housing needs intersect within the crowdfunding space. The findings reinforce the need to consider health and housing needs together as opposed to using a siloed approach to addressing these pressing social issues, while the classification scheme assist with articulating the breadth of what such co-consideration must include.
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