Homelessness in Timmins, Ontario, Canada

Homelessness has been described as a crisis within Canada; yet little published research has described the extent and nature of homelessness within communities in northeastern Ontario, Canada. A period prevalence count was conducted of the homeless population using emergency shelters, social service agencies, and other services in the City of Timmins, in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The total homeless population (high-risk and absolutely homeless) identified in the study (n=720) included 257 infants, children and adolescents under age 15 even though the majority of homeless people were adults. Overall, more than a third of homeless people reported Indigenous background. The most frequently reported source of income was the Ontario Disabilities Support Program (31%). Taken together, the central reasons pertained to structural and systemic problems of unemployment, problems with social assistance, and the lack of affordable housing accounted for the largest proportion of homelessness. Absolutely homeless people made up close to a third of the homeless people who used the services of the participating agencies. Nearly half were women. Children and youth up to the age of 19 comprised half of this population. When the number of women with children and youth under age 20 are combined, they constitute about two-thirds of those who are absolutely homeless in Timmins. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential for raising awareness of this issue at the local and regional levels.

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OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development
Timmins, Ontario, Canada