A Safe Place to Rest Your Head: Homelessness In Canada – March 15, 2017

Good morning subscribers! With temperatures falling below zero again in much of central Canada, hopes of an early spring appear to have dissipated. For those without stable access to shelter, however, this seemingly minor inconvenience is of critical importance. This week, we turn our attention to homelessness in Canada and the policy environment in which it persists.
This edition of the Policy Brief was prepared by Caleb Holden and Leah Mulholland.

A Safe Place to Rest Your Head

  • Last week, Ontario Housing Minister Chris Ballard announced $100 million of funding for new housing programs, beginning in 2019. Programs will support mental health, addiction counselling, and other skills training to help Ontario’s most vulnerable find long-term stability in their lives. [Mathieu / Toronto Star]
  • Could 2017 mark the beginning of the end of homelessness in Canada? In November, over 1000 policymakers, researchers, and community organizers met in London, Ontario for the Fourth National Conference on Ending Homelessness. What will the impact of their discussion be for the 235,000 Canadians estimated to be homeless each year?  [Buchnea / PPGR]
  • A big move toward reducing homelessness has been the widespread shift in Canada’s cities toward “housing first” policies, which prioritize permanent housing over support services. That said, reactive programs like emergency shelters and soup kitchens remains an important part of national responses. How might a shift toward preventative measures change policy outcomes? [Buchnea /PPGR]
  • Have a spare bedroom? Thanks to a new initiative called Nightstop, households can sign up to be a “host home” and take in youth between the ages of 16 and 26 that are homeless. A prevention-based and innovative alternative to homeless shelters, Nightstop hopes to expand across the country. [Ireland / CBC News]
  • It may be that time of the month, but for women who are homeless, managing menstrual health is an expensive challenge piled on top of life stressors such as finding a safe place to sleep and food to eat. These powerful stories show how the lack of access to menstrual products seriously complicates the lives of women in precarious housing situations. [Mathieu / Toronto Star]
We hope this week’s batch of articles provoked some thought. The next edition of the Brief will be making its way to your inboxes on March 22nd.