Highlights of the National Shelter Study 2005 to 2016

The National Shelter Study is an ongoing analysis of homelessness shelter use trends in Canada. This report is the third analysis of national emergency shelter data collected over time. The first study was published in 2013 and covered the period from 2005 to 2009. This information was updated in 2016 and extended the timeframe of the analysis from 2005 to 2014. The current report updates and extends findings to include data from 2015 and 2016.

The National Shelter Study is the most comprehensive national-level study of homelessness in Canada and is vital for understanding changing trends over time. It provides a descriptive account of the demographic characteristics of the homeless population using shelters in Canada (for example: families, youth, Indigenous Persons, etc.), and trends in the average shelter occupancy rate, the overall number of Canadians using shelters, shelter bed use and the length of stay by individuals using Canada’s emergency shelter system.

This report is based on data collected through the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) and data sharing agreements with communities and service providers. It includes anonymous information from nearly 3.1 million shelter stays that occurred at over 200 of the approximately 400 emergency shelters across Canada between 2005 and 2016.

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