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:
- 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
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
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.