Homelessness: Anyone who does not have access to safe, affordable, appropriate, permanent housing to which they can return whenever they choose.
When you think of people experiencing homelessness, what images come to mind? If you’re like most people, you might imagine someone sleeping on park benches, living on the streets or in cars, staying in an emergency shelter, and you’d be right, but only partially. The person you see on the street is just the tip of the iceberg, representing a small portion of the homeless population in our city.
Homelessness is the absence of a place to live. You might be surprised to learn homelessness does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of race, religion, age or gender. People from all walks of life in our own community have no adequate place to call home right at this very moment. They include:
- families with infants and small children
- individuals who are employed full time at below a living wage
- youth disconnected from their families
- post secondary students
- individuals who are faced with health related issues and disabilities
These are individuals and families who once had housing but today have no place of their own to live and don’t have enough money to pay for life's necessities. At some point, they had enough income, as well as the support network of family and friends and access to a social safety net. For a variety of reasons, increasing numbers of people in our community find themselves without access to sustained, safe and affordable housing. Some of these include:
- inability to find housing within a short period of time
- finding themselves drifting in and out of homelessness
- remaining without a home for long periods of time