Homelessness in Canada

Homelessness in Canada

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A Funder's Primer in Understanding the Tragedy on Canada's Streets

Bri Trypuc and Jeffrey Robinson, October 2009.


Homelessness can happen to anyone. The biggest trigger is people losing jobs, leaving them unable to buy food and pay rent. 300,000 of Canada's working poor live pay cheque to pay cheque.

Ci's Homeless in Canada report shows that quick response to homelessness with safe housing reduces the costs we all bear.

Did you know...

  • 157,000 were estimated to be homeless in Canada in 2008.
  • Of the 32,000 chronically homeless who have lived on the streets for more than one year, the average life expectancy is 39 years.
  • Canadian taxpayers spend at least $1.3 billion per year providing services to the homeless.
  • Solutions exist that are more effective and cheaper; the innovative "housing first" approach has an 88% success rate in housing the chronically homeless and costs 17% less than current programs.

Donors can make a difference by supporting charities working with the homeless:

  • Food banks are the first-line of defence stopping those in crisis from becoming homeless.
  • Shelters for the homeless which provide access to basic necessities, medical services and crisis intervention.
  • Charities that provide housing, emphasizing dignity, community and recovery opportunities, have top results in intervening with our chronically homeless.


"My jaw dropped reading all the academic studies. Our chronically homeless are mostly sexually abused children or people with severe mental illness and addicts, shuffled throughthe system and left to fend for themselves on our streets. We automatically feel compassion for the traumatized child, but disdain for that same person 15 years later when they are homeless. Homelessness can happen to anyone, from any walk of life."
- Bri Trypuc, Research Analyst



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