The Street Health Report 2007, launched in September 2007, presents the findings of a survey of 368 homeless adults in Toronto on their health and access to health care. This study was conducted in the winter of 2006/2007 by Street Health, a community-based health care organization working with homeless and under-housed people in downtown Toronto.
The report discusses the nature of homelessness in Toronto and its root causes, followed by an exploration of the daily living conditions of homeless people. It then presents findings on the physical and mental health status of homeless people, how they use health care services, and the barriers homeless people face when using these services. It also explains how the health status of homeless people has changed in the 15 years since the 1992 Street Health Report was published:
“The health of homeless people in Toronto has gotten worse in the past fifteen years. Many serious physical health conditions have become even more common among homeless people and their access to health care has deteriorated. The worsening health of homeless people and the growth of homelessness itself are a reflection of social policy decisions that have been made over the past 15 years. These decisions have resulted in inadequate social assistance rates, a severe lack of affordable housing and the loss of hundreds of emergency shelter beds.”
Based on the findings of the study, an action plan is presented, consisting of realistic solutions to immediately improve the health of homeless people and to ultimately end homelessness.
The study was funded by the Wellesley Institute, the United Way of Toronto, and the Metcalf Foundation.
Find out about the Street Health Stories, the National Film Board’s Filmmaker’s in Residence project and the film and photo-installation that give a human face to the statistics in the Street Health Report.