35,000 experience homelessness every night; Canada at an important crossroads
VANCOUVER, October 29, 2014 – The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (Homeless Hub) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) released their second annual State of Homelessness in Canada report today. Highlights of the report include:
- 235,000 different Canadians experience homelessness each year and 35,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night (an increase from last year resulting from improved analysis);
- An estimated 1.5 million poor Canadian households are living in core housing need, with 733,275 renter households in extreme housing need;
- An additional 365,000 households who are living in poverty, but surviving in subsidized housing, may lose support and potentially their homes as federal social housing operating agreements expire;
- The State of Homelessness traces the rise of modern mass homelessness in Canada back to federal withdrawal from housing investment including a 46 per cent reduction in federal affordable housing investment over last 25 years, despite 30 per cent growth in Canada’s population;
- Report provides recommendations that would:
- eliminate chronic homelessness and reduce the length of stay in emergency shelters in Canada to less than two weeks
- provide direct financial assistance to 836,000 poor Canadian households per year; and,
- create 88,000 new units of supportive and affordable housing over a decade
- Proposals would cost $3.752 annually (2015/16), an increase of $1.719 billion/year over current expenditures;
- This investment in affordable housing will cost each Canadian $106 per year, which is an increase of $46 per year over current spending. In 1989, Canadians spent $115 per capita;
- Homelessness today costs Canadians over $7 billion per year.
“We began this year’s report with the question: how much housing would it take to end homelessness?” says York University Professor Stephen Gaetz, Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. “We‘ve shown that creating enough housing is achievable and affordable with relatively small, but precisely targeted investments.”
“An end to homelessness is readily achievable, but we have to tackle the housing crisis facing our poorest and most vulnerable neighbours,” added Tim Richter, President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. “The federal government’s shift to Housing First was right, but Housing First programs won’t be enough, without some targeted investment in supportive and affordable housing.”
The State of Homelessness offers six recommendations:
A new federal, provincial territorial affordable housing framework agreement that sets clear priorities and requires local planning;
- Increased Housing First investments that target chronic and episodic homelessness through an expansion of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy;
- Direct investment in affordable housing programs, specifically:
- reinvestment in federal funding for social housing, co-ops and non-profits, as operating agreements wind down;
- expansion of the Investment in Affordable Housing initiative (IAH);
- A housing benefit to assist those who face a severe affordability problem in their current accommodation;
- A new affordable housing tax credit;
- Review and expand investment in Aboriginal housing both on and off reserve.
The CAEH will be hosting their second annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Vancouver Nov 3 to 5 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. For more information visit: www.caeh.ca/caeh14.
On Nov 4, the CAEH is also hosting Band Together, a benefit concert in support of ending homelessness at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver featuring Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Blue Rodeo. For more information and tickets visit: www.bandtogetherconcert.ca.
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (Homeless Hub) at York University is a non-profit, non-partisan research institute committed to conducting and mobilizing research to have a greater impact on solutions to homelessness.
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness has been formed to create a national movement to end homelessness in Canada from the community up.
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