A new study comissioned by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and produced by the Homeless Hub titled “The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013″ reports that 380,600 Canadians are in “severe housing need”, 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year, and there are 30,000 homeless Canadians across the country every night. The study found homelessness to be disporportionately experienced by First Nations and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals. Despite being presented as “comprehensive”, the study’s comissioners have expressed concern that it almost certainly underestimates the problem due to traditional problematic areas of data collection regarding the homeless.
The report recommends further implementation of the “Housing First” strategy which has been sucessfully experimented with in Vancouver and B.C.
The Homeless hub states:
‘Housing First’ is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly providing homeless people with housing and then providing additional services as needed. It is an approach first popularized by Sam Tsemberis and Pathways to Housing in New York in the 1990s, though there were Housing First-like programs emerging elsewhere, including Canada (HouseLink in Toronto) prior to this time. The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed.
Despite enthusiasm for “Housing First” in Vancouver – the city’s affordability and low rental-stock continue to be acknowledged as larger and harder-to-tackle issues in its housing environment. In reference to the study, Stephen Gaetz, director of York University’s Canadian Homelessness Research Network has called the combination of falling wages and a deteoriating rental stock nation-wide has been referred to as the “Perfect Storm”