Facts about Homelessness in Toronto
There are over 7,400 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.
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 that contribute to the growing affordability gap. Affordability is the most significant challenge in helping move people out of shelters.