What to do with all those stained glass windows?
With no end in sight to the world’s homelessness crisis, it’s been an open question in Canada for years: How should we allocate resources to build shelters and other transitional housing?
This year, the federal government finally gave us the answer: More money for homeless services.
It’s a small but important step toward solving homelessness and making Canada a safer, more humane place for those struggling to survive.
“In Canada, we are experiencing a humanitarian crisis and we are facing a tremendous challenge with respect to how to support people in need,” says Erin Coyle, Canada’s director of homelessness prevention and services.
“We are not equipped to do it on our own.”
That’s why the government’s new Homelessness and Housing Strategy 2017-2018, released Thursday, lays out three priorities for addressing homelessness and providing housing services to those who need them: 1.
Expand the use of shelter beds to more people.
Provide more supportive services, such as housing support and transitional housing, to people who need it. 3.
Provide supportive services and supports to people with disabilities.
The strategy is aimed at ensuring that everyone, including those who have nowhere to go, can get the help they need.
“The homelessness crisis has changed our way of life,” says Coyle.
“It’s changing how we think about homelessness.
It changes how we talk about it.”
The strategy sets out the government plans to help solve the problem of homelessness by providing more supportive and housing services for people who are homeless, including people with special needs and those living in the most vulnerable areas.
For people in transitional housing: People who are living in transitional shelters and transitional transitional housing may have difficulty finding permanent housing or staying in a shelter that meets their needs.
Shelter is a critical lifeline for many people living in shelter, Coyle says.
Shelters provide transitional housing for people with limited or no access to permanent housing, which means they can stay in their homes, eat meals, and work, but they may not be able to move into permanent housing.
Some people in shelters are living on their own, and sometimes are homeless themselves.
“Many people are living inside shelters,” she says.
“They’re living in places they can’t leave because they can no longer afford the rent or food.”
If you or someone you know is homeless, seek out help The homelessness crisis is not limited to just homeless people.
“Homelessness is a social issue,” says Heather Bannister, executive director of the Canada Network of Community Housing.
“There are also people living on the streets, and they’re often homeless.
So there’s a continuum of homelessness.”
People who need supportive housing include: Women and children who are in foster care or in transitional residential care, including seniors and people with mental health issues.
Children living in shelters and sheltered housing.
People who have been in the system for at least a year and have a history of substance abuse or mental health problems.
Women living with a partner or ex-partner who has a history, but has not yet been assessed as a homeless person.
People living in residential and group homes or other transitional shelter settings.
People in emergency shelters, such to ensure people with serious mental health conditions have access to medical care.
People with HIV and other HIV-related conditions, and people who have lost jobs due to the crisis.
People experiencing homelessness in their own home, who are struggling to pay for rent or utilities, or who live with a chronic mental illness.
Homelessness is complex, says Coyne.
The Canadian Association of Chief Executives has been advocating for increased funding for transitional housing since 2008.
“That’s why we are calling for more support for people in transition and more supportive housing for those living on that continuum,” she explains.
“And that’s what we’re calling for now.”
To find out more about homelessness and shelter, see the following resources: How to get help if you or a loved one is homeless or living on your own (link opens in new window)