Homelessness: Closing the Gap Between Capacity and Performance
December 06, 2012
Despite the development of a national strategy in the mid-1990s to tackle the significant rise in homelessness, best estimates suggest that the number of homeless has not actually been reduced. This report examines Canada’s national homelessness program since its launch and makes the case for fully implementing a "Housing First” approach.
The report finds that implementation of a Housing First approach can actually cost government less than funding shelters, emergency care, and correctional services for the homeless. In addition to the cost savings realized by government, outcomes can be improved through the reallocation of funds; the homeless, even those with severe mental illness, are better off in stable housing than living on the streets or in shelters.
The report recommends redefining the role of the federal government to let the provinces lead the way on tackling the issue. The federal government should withdraw from direct programming and re-focus its efforts on assisting the provinces to reduce and eliminate homelessness, for example, by introducing more flexibility through CMHC on the terms of federal-provincial housing agreements.
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