Nation-Wide Campaign Launched to House 20,000 Homeless Canadians

20,000 Homes Campaign unites communities to permanently house 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people within the next three years

TORONTO (June 16, 2015) – Today, 21 communities from across the country joined the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) to launch the 20,000 Homes Campaign, a powerful nationwide campaign that aims to permanently house 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2018.

The initiative is inspired by the successful 100,000 Homes Campaign from the United States that concluded in 2014, having housed a total of 105,580 people.

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“The 20,000 Homes Campaign is a grassroots movement of communities working together to permanently house some of our most vulnerable homeless neighbours,” says Tim Richter, President and CEO, CAEH. “Homelessness is a solvable problem and we believe if we work together, apply proven strategies like Housing First, we’ll achieve meaningful, nationwide reductions in homelessness within three years.”

The 20,000 Homes Campaign is focused on the ‘most vulnerable’, referring specifically to homeless individuals who are assessed as having high acuity (those with complex needs and at risk of death from homelessness) and/or those who are chronic or episodically homeless. The Housing First approach is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing providing supports and services as needed.

The 21 communities that signed on today are: Kamloops, B.C.,  Salt Spring Island, B.C., Sechelt / Sunshine Coast, B.C., Calgary, Alta., Edmonton, Alta., Medicine Hat, Alta., Lethbridge, Alta., Red Deer, Alta., Grande Prairie, Alta., Saskatoon, SK.,  Regina, SK.,  Hamilton, Ont., Kingston, Ont., Ottawa, Ont., Thunder Bay, Ont., Waterloo, Ont., Simcoe County, Ont., Fredericton, N.B., Moncton, N.B., Saint John, N.B., and Halifax, N.S. Many more cities are expected to join in the coming months.

On any given night in Canada, approximately 35,000 people will sleep in a shelter or on the street and over 235,000 people will experience homelessness over the course of a year. Research suggests of those 235,000 as many as 33,000 people are chronic or episodically homeless, meaning they have been homeless for a long time or experience episodes of homelessness over the course of their lives. Chronic and episodically homeless people often struggle with deep poverty, trauma, mental illness, addiction along with complex and often multiple medical problems. Research shows conclusively that people experiencing homelessness have higher mortality rates and a lower life expectancy then other Canadians.

The campaign will engage thousands of volunteers in communities across Canada to get to know homeless people by name and assess their housing and health care needs through a simple survey. Completed surveys and recorded data will be shared with local staff who will prioritize entry into housing based on urgent need. Communities will then work together to house their most vulnerable homeless people, reporting progress regularly on the campaign website www.20khomes.ca.

”We’re going to extract every ounce of value we can from existing resources to get people housed,” Richter says, “but to end homelessness in Canada we will need meaningful federal investment in affordable and supportive housing.”

Over the next three years the campaign hopes to build public support for ending homelessness and renewed federal investment in housing and support services.

In October 2014 the CAEH and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness released the State of Homelessness in Canada report. That report outlined how an additional federal housing investment of $46 per Canadian, per year, for 10 years could effectively end homelessness, reducing length of stay in Canadian emergency shelters to less than two weeks.

To join the campaign, get more information, donate, or to volunteer, please visit www.20khomes.ca

 

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