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article image20 percent of Toronto's homeless are LGBT youth

By KJ Mullins     Jul 31, 2013 in World
Toronto - The city of Toronto just released the latest numbers for their homeless population. The report shows that the population numbers have not changed since 2009. Those numbers though don't tell the whole story though.
Breaking down the numbers show that the youngest and the oldest Toronto residents are now making up larger portions of the street population.
Almost every person who is homeless in Toronto wants to have a roof over their head. Close to half of those have applied for subsidized housing and are on a waiting list.
The number of seniors that are homeless have doubled since 2009, standing at 10 percent of the total homeless population. Equally disturbing is the fact that almost 20 percent of homeless identify as LGBQT youth. This was the first year that sexual identity was asked for the city survey.
The largest number of those considered homeless were housed in city-administered shelters (3,970). According to the survey 447 people lived on the street. Breaking down the rest of the homeless population; 356 resided at Violence Against Women shelters, 236 were in health and treatment facilities and 210 were housed in correctional facilities. There was a total 1 percent increase of homelessness since 2009.
The amount of time that a person remained homeless varied as to where they resided. Overall the average time is about 3 years but for those that live outside that average time increased to 7.5 years. Those who are in city run shelters for families average 0.4 years of homelessness and 0.5 years for those in VAW shelters, which indicates that there are housing services for women or families who turn to the shelter system. However those in other types of city run shelters are homeless a little over 3 years on average. Those in health and treatment facilities or correctional facilities average 4 years of homelessness.
While the number of homeless have not made a drastic change since 2009 the number of individuals living outside increased 24 percent. On April 17, when the count took place, there were an estimated 447 people living on Toronto streets. While it is an increase from 2009 it is a decrease of 39.1 percent from 2006.
A third of those who live outdoors identify as Aboriginal, an increase of 18 percent since 2009. The overall percentage of homeless who identify as Aboriginal is 16 percent.
This was the first year that those involved in the survey were asked if they had served in the Canadian military. The rate of military service among the outdoor population is more than twice that observed for the total homeless population (7.2%) and 15.6 percent of those living on the streets claim to have served the nation.
Almost 20 percent of homeless youth under the age of 21 identify as part of the LGBTQ community, with 11 percent female and 7 percent male. Overall 9.5 percent of the homeless in Toronto identify as LGBTQ.
Twenty-nine percent of Toronto's homeless are over the age of 51. In 2009 19 percent of the homeless population was over 51. The largest percentage increase of this population were those aged 61-65.
Close to half of those who are homeless had been to the ER or in hospital within 6 months of the survey. Drop-in shelters, health clinics, ID clinics and food banks were also used by many of the homeless.
More about Toronto, LGBTQ youth, Homelessness, Seniors, Shelters
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