Our most accurate figures to date show that at least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year. It is for this reason that World Habitat Day should have been a cause for thought throughout Canada.

The United Nations states that World Habitat day is a time “to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.” The Habitat for Humanities infographic demonstrates the global importance of addressing homelessness and housing. Despite these alarming numbers there is an increasing body of information that has been released throughout Canada to support best practices in ending homelessness. It is important that Canada responds to these global trends by establishing the right programs that work within the various contexts of our large country. How do we end homelessness in Canada?

The Homeless Hub celebrated World Habitat Day by releasing a free e-book on Housing First in Canada. Housing First programs have been effective, there are examples throughout Canada that reveal the various possibilities for program design that can meet the needs of different sized cities. While housing first has not increased the stock of affordable housing, it has successfully placed people in markets with low vacancy rates. This has shown that the model is adaptable to different contexts. The housing first model is one solution, however it isn’t the only solution.

While we know what the solutions are, it doesn’t make the immediate problem any less formidable. There are still 200,000 people without sufficient housing every year in Canada. In the future, it is possible to create a Canada where homelessness is no longer seen as a necessary social condition. It is important that we continue to test our assumptions and challenge ourselves to develop better solutions. In the mean time every level of government must continue “supporting communities to end homelessness”.

World Habitat Data