Every night ... 30,000 without homes
Despite sporadic success in addressing homelessness in Canada, little progress has been made toward a permanent cross-country solution, says a national report into the extent of the problem.
The report's initial numbers tell a grim story. Among the report's findings:
- At least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year.
- At least 150,000 Canadians a year use a homeless shelter at some point.
- At least 30,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night.
- At least 50,000 Canadians are part of the "hidden homeless" on any given night — staying with friends or relatives on a temporary basis as they have nowhere else to go.
Those numbers come from the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the groups behind what they call the first extensive national report card on homelessness.
They highlight the federal government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy, which was renewed this past March for another five years. The strategy supports research on homelessness and works with communities in tackling the problem.
But the report's authors say this investment has not been accompanied by "a robust and ongoing investment in affordable housing," which they say is a crucial part of solving the problem.
Vicky Stergiopoulos, the psychiatrist-in-chief at St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto, called the report "long overdue" and said she was hopeful its recommendation would be heeded.