Street homelessness cut in half according to latest research
According to the newly released results from the 2009 Street Needs Assessment, an estimated 400 people were living on Toronto’s streets in 2009, less than half of the 2006 estimate of 818. In total, an estimated 5,086 people were homeless on the night April 15, 2009, slightly up from the 2006 estimate of 5,052.
While overall homelessness remained fairly stable, there was an increase in the number of youth and families staying in the City’s emergency shelters. Most of the growth in family use of shelters is the result of far more refugees settling in Toronto with no access to appropriate housing. Family shelter use in Toronto is largely determined by geopolitical circumstances and federal immigration policy.
Aboriginal people continue to be overrepresented in the homeless population, but fewer are sleeping outside. On average, those living outdoors remain homeless longest.
The 2009 results confirm that Toronto’s homeless people are frequent users of expensive emergency services, such as hospitals, ambulance and the justice system.
Results also confirm, once again, that a lack of affordable housing remains the most significant barrier to ending homelessness.
The next Street Needs Assessment is planned for 2012 and will again be conducted by volunteers under the direction of team leaders from community agencies and City of Toronto staff.
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