The Homeless Hub was talking about World Homeless Day this week. I haven’t heard of this before. What is it?

Ree Lanoue 
Mandeville, Louisiana

Thanks for your question Ree. I hadn’t heard of it either until this week. World Homeless Day started on October 10th, 2010 and has been recognized annually on 10/10.

World Homeless Day 2013

The website says it is recognized in over 100 countries through a variety of activities. “The purpose of World Homeless Day is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage an ‘international day’ provides.”

While it’s a good concept, we advocate acting on and thinking about homelessness every day of the year (or as much as possible).

  1. Volunteer. The World Homeless Day slogan focuses on thinking globally and acting locally; that’s a great idea. Try your community’s volunteer matching programs or to find an organization that needs assistance. You may also be able to access information by calling 211 or 311 if your community supports those services.
  2. Donate. Community organizations aren’t always able to take specific donated items – i.e. used clothing – because of lack of storage or hygiene issues. Call a local shelter or drop-in centre and find out what they could use. Maybe it’s a product – new socks, blankets, coffee gift cards, toiletries, food – or maybe it’s a financial donation. Leverage your donation by getting others from your work, school, family or faith community to contribute as well.
  3. Learn and Share. Learn more about homelessness and its solutions by reading current research. The Homeless Hub provides lots of easily understood research resources. Check our topics section as a starting point. You can also read our State of Homelessness in Canada: 2013 report, our e-book on youth homelessness, or our newly released book Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness which addresses housing as a solution.
  4. Advocate. Contact your politicians – at the municipal, provincial/territorial or federal level. Ask them to support solutions to homelessness including a national housing strategy.

World Mental Health Day

October 10th was also World Mental Health Day. It is a UN Special Day organized by the World Federation of Mental Health. As previous blogs and lots of our research has shown there is a correlation between mental health and homelessness (both as a causative factor leading to homelessness and an illness that has developed as a result of homelessness). This year’s theme was Mental Health and Older Adults; next year the focus will be on Mental Health and Schizophrenia.

For more on mental health start with our Mental Health topic or check out the blog Homelessness and Mental Health in Canada from August.

This post is part of our Friday "Ask the Hub" blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at and we will provide a research-based answer.