We have the knowledge, the evidence and the strategies to improve the plight of those who fall between the cracks and stay there for long periods of time. But every night, the shelters continue to fill up, and every day, the many people who are homeless on our streets watch as we pass by with eyes averted.
At this moment, Canada has an opportunity to take action and reduce homelessness dramatically by expanding strategies we already know can work.
The federal government launched the National Homelessness Initiative in 1999, after a significant rise in homelessness. This initiative allocated more than $1 billion to funding solutions such as community programs and beds in shelters. Programs such as these play an important role, but have not measurably reduced the number of homeless people country-wide. For that reason, the current government has sought evidence on the cost-effectiveness of alternative options, such as “Housing First.”