Canada's first national study on homelessness in the country does not paint a viewable portrait of the issue. It comes from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and it shows homelessness on average to be affecting 30,000 people each night in Canada.
"In a natural disaster, the loss of housing or life happens because of a fire or flood or something like that," said a co-author of the study, Tim Richter. "In the unnatural disaster of homelessness, the same things are happening, but it's happening because of poverty, disability, addiction, mental illness and trauma."
Richter said that Canada now simply 'manages' homelessness and he believes it is time to end it. He said the study not only found that on any given night there are 30,000 Canadians sleeping out of doors or in a shelter, but it also found that overall homelessness affects up to 200,000 Canadians annually.
The study said ending homelessness will require greater efforts to fund programs to help the country achieve a dramatic increase in affordable housing. It lauded an approach called "housing first" that seeks to first get homeless people into decent living quarters and then put into place support to address underlying problems.
Also involved in the study was the Canadian Homelessness Research Network.