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Facts about Homelessness in Toronto

There are over 10,000 people in Toronto who are homeless on any given night. There are many reasons why people become homeless – loss of employment, family break-up, family violence, mental illness, poor physical health, substance use, physical, sexual or emotional abuse just to name a few.

Homelessness describes the situation of an individual, family or community without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it.

It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, unhealthy, unsafe, stressful and distressing.

The key driver of homelessness in Toronto is the economy and the housing market. Rental costs have increased dramatically over the past 10 years and a lack of affordable housing has increased to record high numbers. Majority of shelter users receive Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support, however social assistance rates don’t respond to local economic factors contribute to the growing affordability gap. Affordability is the most significant challenge in helping move people out of shelters.

No one is safe from experiencing homelessness. It can happen to someone you know.

of homeless people are sleeping outdoors, shelters and in emergency respite centres, and in health and correctional facilities every night
occupancy rate in Toronto shelters every night
people are on the subsidized housing waitlist
Toronto households experience food insecurity
experiencing homelessness struggle with mental illness
of the homeless population are aged 45 - 64
of homeless people want a permanent home
of homeless people saying that what they really need to get out of homelessness is help paying Toronto’s high rents
10 years
the average wait for a 2-bedroom apartment
of homeless people have been homeless for more than one year
seniors and youth both represent of the homeless population
people experiencing homelessness are 20 times more likely than the general population to be hospitalized from the virus
people experiencing homelessness are 10 times more likely to require intensive care for COVID-19
people experiencing homelessness are 5 times more likely to die within three weeks of first testing positive.
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