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We don’t know for sure how many homeless people there
are in Canada. Some government reports say there might be
150 000 people, while poverty, homeless, and housing
experts have said the number may be closer to 300 000.

What do we know about Canada’s homeless?
We do know a few things about homelessness in Canada, thanks to local and provincial organizations such as shelters, religious institutions, food banks, and other social programs.
  • Canada’s homeless includes teens, the elderly, men, women, and families with young children. The homeless population includes people born in Canada and immigrants.
    (Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal)

  • The majority of homeless people in Canada are single men between the ages of 25–44.
    (Shelter: Homelessness in a growth economy)

  • Toronto, Ontario, has Canada’s largest homeless population. (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

  • Almost one-third of the Canadian homeless population is youth between the ages of 16 and 24.
    (Shelter: Homelessness in a growth economy)

  • The largest number of street youths are in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Most street youth do not stay in shelters. They live on the street, “squat” in buildings, or “couch surf” at friends’ places.
    (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

  • Each night there are about 8000 homeless people sleeping in shelters within the nine largest cities in Canada.
    (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Turnbull, Jeffrey, Wendy Muckle, and Christina Masters. “Homelessness and Health.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 177, no. 9 (2007): 1065-66.
Laird, Gordon. Shelter: Homelessness in a growth economy: Canada’s 21st century paradox. Calgary: Shaldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, 2007.

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