The Salvation Army, largest operator of homeless shelters in Canada, has released a powerful new research report that underlines the critical need for affordable housing to meet the challenges of homelessness and deep and persistent poverty across Canada. “Poverty shouldn’t be a life sentence” includes a detailed survey of the people who use Salvation Army shelters, along with the staff. It reveals that one-quarter of homeless men have jobs; two-thirds of shelter users have income from welfare or employment; nearly half of shelter users suffer from health issues; affordable housing is the first step to resolving homelessness.
The bottom line: “The Salvation Army urges the federal government to develop a national housing strategy that includes ending homelessness as a priority. Without a national framework, addressing all of these issues at its foundation, individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty will continue to have difficulty building permanent and safe lives.”