Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, around 30,000 people are homeless in Canada on any given night.
Every year, more than 150,000 people use a homeless shelter. Two million more live in poverty. Clearly, the system is broken. The solution? Lots of money, according to the feds.
The Canadian government recently announced a refined homelessness strategy called “Reaching Home,” which includes $1.25 billion in funding. The money will be made available to for big cities who apply for funding.
Here’s the deal: Rent and construction are so expensive in Canada’s major urban areas. That means big-city governments struggle to fund programs and infrastructure to combat homelessness.
The new funding is expected to assist six major cities administer housing programs. Some of the money will also be designated exclusively for Indigenous people, who disproportionately represent Canada’s homeless population.
Now, will any of this work? Critics argue that funding was never really the issue. They point to a lack of services, poor organization, and a disconnect between the federal and provincial governments and their respective social welfare services with regards to how money is spent.
Part of the new initiative includes determining an official poverty line, which Canada has never done before. An amount was not disclosed. Currently, the low-income cut-off (LICO) for one person in Canada is $24,949 – about the same amount as rent for a one-bedrooom apartment in Toronto or Vancouver for a year.