Canadian Homelessness

Why Are People Homeless in Canada?

Since the 1980’s, the annual national investment in affordable housing in Canada has decreased along with pension and social service benefit levels. Canada has also experienced an increasing population and declining wages—minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. As a result, Canadian homelessness has increased, and many more are at-risk of becoming homeless.

Homeless Canadians include men, women, families with children, youth, older adults and seniors, veterans, and Indigenous people. When people are homeless in Canada, they stay in emergency shelters, violence against women shelters, and temporary or provisional places such as motels, interim housing, short-term rentals, institutional care, and accommodations for recent immigrants and refugees. Others are unsheltered or among the “hidden homeless,” temporarily living with family, with friends, in cars, or elsewhere because they don’t have anywhere else to live.