Canadian Homelessness Will End If All Levels of Government Collaborate

The following video presents The State of Homelessness in Canada, 2013:

The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2013 is the first extensive Canadian report card on homelessness. This report examines what we know about homelessness, the historical, social and economic context in which it has emerged, demographic features of the problem, and potential solutions. The State of Homelessness provides a starting point to inform the development of a consistent, evidence-based approach towards ending homelessness.

Our goal in developing this report was to both assess the breadth of the problem and to develop a methodology for national measurement. We believe that homelessness is not a given and that not just reducing, but ending, the crisis is achievable.

The information for the State of Homelessness in Canada report has been compiled by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (Homeless Hub) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness from the best available research to date. Because we lack strong data on homelessness in Canada, our estimates of the scale of the problem are just that: an estimate, but they represent an important starting point. As the first national report card on homelessness, the evaluation of the response to homelessness by Canada’s homeless sector provides an important means of benchmarking progress toward ending homelessness.

For more on this, see: homelesshub.ca/sohc13

The Canadian Homelessness Research Network, led by York University, created the Canadian Definition of Homelessness as follows.

The definition includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Homelessness describes the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, stressful and distressing.

Homelessness describes a range of housing and shelter circumstances, with people being without any shelter at one end, and being insecurely housed at the other. That is, homelessness encompasses a range of physical living situations, organized here in a typology that includes 1) Unsheltered, or absolutely homeless and living on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation; 2) Emergency Sheltered, including those staying in overnight shelters for people who are homeless, as well as shelters for those impacted by family violence; 3) Provisionally Accommodated, referring to those whose accommodation is temporary or lacks security of tenure, and finally, 4) At Risk of Homelessness, referring to people who are not homeless, but whose current economic and/or housing situation is precarious or does not meet public health and safety standards. It should be noted that for many people homelessness is not a static state but rather a fluid experience, where one’s shelter circumstances and options may shift and change quite dramatically and with frequency.

The problem of homelessness and housing exclusion refers to the failure of society to ensure that adequate systems, funding and support are in place so that all people, even in crisis situations, have access to housing. The goal of ending homelessness is to ensure housing stability, which means people have a fixed address and housing that is appropriate (affordable, safe, adequately maintained, accessible and suitable in size), and includes required services as needed (supportive), in addition to income and supports.

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (2012) Canadian Definition of Homelessness.
Homeless Hub: www.homelesshub.ca/homelessdefinition/  (pdf)

Here is another definition of Canadian homelessnes.

Homelessness is an extreme form of poverty and social exclusion. Simply put, people who are homeless do not have safe, affordable, appropriate, permanent housing to which they can return whenever they choose. This includes people who are absolutely homeless and are living on the streets or in shelters, the ‘hidden homeless’ who are staying with friends, relatives or in institutional settings, and those ‘at risk’ of homelessness, whose current economic and housing situation is precarious.

Homelessness can result from a combination of individual and structural factors. Individual factors that can contribute to homelessness include: deep poverty, mental or physical illness, addiction, trauma, abuse, lack of education and a lack of supportive relationships.

Structural causes of homelessness are social and economic in nature, and are often outside the control of the individual or family concerned. These may include:

  • poverty;
  • a lack of affordable housing;
  • housing policies;
  • the structure and administration of government support; and
  • wider policy developments, such as the closure of  psychiatric hospitals.

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
http://www.caeh.ca/about-homelessness/

Dignity for All, a campaign between Citizens for Public Justice and Canada Without Poverty, reveals that homelessness will end if all levels of government (including First Nations, Métis governments, and Inuit Land Claim Organizations) collaborate to prevent homelessness.

“The Special Rapporteur calls for Canada to adopt a comprehensive and coordinated national housing policy based on indivisibility of human rights and the protection of the most vulnerable. This national strategy should include measurable goals and timetables, consultation and collaboration with affected communities, complaints procedures, and transparent accountability mechanisms.30
Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Report: Mission to Canada October 2007. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

http://www.cwp-csp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DignityForAll_Report-English-FINAL.compressed.pdf

This growing crisis, Housing and Homelessness (March 2011), is delineated in Dignity for All’s recently released report, A National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada, as follows. Read more of Canadian Homelessness Will End If All Levels of Government Collaborate

This video, from CTV Vancouver Island News, presents “Homelessness Action Week” in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

  • VICTORIA — Canadians are having an increasingly difficult time putting a roof over their heads and making ends meet.
    • Three and a half million in fact are currently living on or below the poverty line.
  • Here in our province it’s even worse.
    • With soaring housing costs and a lack of subsidized housing, roughly fifteen thousand British Columbians don’t have a place to call home.
  • The Our Place Drop In Centre is looking to change that, giving people hand up, not a hand out.
    • For the past three years project connect has brought homeless people and those who can provide assistance together says outreach worker Sarah Wilson.
  • “Victoria has one of the largest homeless populations per capita in the country and if we can provide these people with a meal, a shower, help with getting identification and even put together a resume for them, we can help them get back on track and out of poverty.”
  • Victoria NDP MP Denis Savoie is pushing for the federal government to pass bill C-304 at the end of the month that will put in place a national housing strategy.
  • Every Canadian has the right to decent affordable housing and this bill forces the government to provide people with that and develop a strategy to achieve that.

Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness

Presents

8th Annual Homelessness Action Week 2013

October 13 – 19, 2013

Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Homelessness Action Week  is an annual regional campaign across Metro Vancouver aimed at raising awareness about homelessness, and building community capacity and partnerships for local solutions to homelessness.

Homelessness Action Week is an opportunity to get involved in homelessness action in your community by attending events, and spreading the word about homelessness action through education, advocacy, and social media activity.

The City of Vancouver joins communities and organizations throughout the region to mark Homelessness Action Week.

  • Homelessness Action Week is organized by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness.
    • The Steering Committee on Homelessness is a coalition of community organizations and all levels of government.
  • The week’s purpose is to raise public awareness on the issues of homelessness, and rally local solutions to the issues.

The City of Vancouver is committed to ending street homelessness by 2015, and is a proud supporter and participant in Homelessness Action Week through a number of events and initiatives.

Homelessness Action Week (HAW) includes the following events.

Read more of Invisibly Homeless Canadians + City of Vancouver’s Homelessness Action Week October 13 – 19, 2013

This video presents “David Hulchanski: Toronto’s Three Cities.”

  • A new report details three cities within Toronto: the wealthy city, the middle-class city and the low-income city.
  • But if David Hulchanski’s research holds true, there will only be two cities in the near future: the rich and the poor.
  • What has caused this disparity? And what can be done to reverse the cycle?

The Ontario government  had launched Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2008.

Poverty is no longer just a cycle wherein poorly-paid workers are struggling to “keep up with skyrocketing costs in housing, tuition and energy.”

This title should be revised and updated to ‘Breaking the Path to Poverty’ so as to be fitting to the reality of the present economy.

In today’s economy, the significant loss of  Canadian jobs due to outsourcing, dearth of middle-income jobs due to technology/digital revolution, and rampant job insecurity are all causal factors to almost instantaneous poverty for many hard-working individuals.

The shrinking middle class trend goes hand-in-hand with the growing poverty trend in this economy of  “anaemic GDP growth“, which is delineated by of the Toronto Star as follows.

Read more of Your Input: Canadian Poverty Consultation for Ontario Until October 2013

Update: Symposium's Synergy Creates New Ideas to Ease Poverty, Homelessness

Update: Symposium's Synergy Creates New Ideas to Ease Poverty, Homelessness

Today’s Symposium at Toronto City Hall focused on alleviating poverty and homelessness. About 200 representatives from the non-profit and private sectors and government discussed new ideas, strategies and actions being taken to support the recommendations of the report “In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness”.

As soon as the Affordable Housing Committee receives the ideas and suggestions of the symposium this spring, the committee will consider recommendations to be forwarded to City Council.

Read more of Update: Symposium’s Synergy Creates New Ideas to Ease Poverty, Homelessness

The following letter of Tom Pearson, Chairman of Poverty Action for Change Coalition (PACC) and ISARC York Region Social Audit 2010 Co-Covenor,  recounts a true tale of homelessness that exists – not in a third world country – but right here in York Region, Ontario, Canada:

Read more of A True Tale of Homelessness