Canada Could End Homelessness: But It’ll Cost $46/year

homeless man in tunnelsad man sitting in the tunnelNobody grows up with the aspiration to be the poster child for homelessness, but you take what you’ve been given, right?”

Katrina Blanchard-Gervais laughs at the absurdity of it all, and she sounds more bright than bitter. After two years in homeless shelters, the mother of six now has an apartment as part of an innovative program in Hamilton, Ont., called Housing First.

Most of us probably associate homelessness with panhandlers or men sleeping on park benches — they are the ones we see while going about our daily lives. But they do not represent all of Canada’s homeless.

On any given night, there are about 35,000 Canadians on the streets and in shelters, and as many as 50,000 more are “hidden homeless” who stay with friends or family. Over the course of a year, 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness, according to one estimate — 5,000 on the streets, 180,000 in emergency shelters and 50,000 are provisionally accommodated. And 1.6 million more are at risk of losing their homes, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In other words, it could happen to almost any of us. Like it happened to Katrina.

“It wasn’t like one day I woke up and I was homeless. Every year things just got tighter and tighter, it was just that one more step down the ladder,” she tells The Huffington Post Canada. “Things just didn’t work out well for me. How did I end up coming from two wonderful parents in northern Ontario to finding myself homeless?”

Read the full story on the Huffington Post

Read more about Housing First on Salt Spring Island