Re­port calls for pre­ven­tive ap­proach to home­less­ness

Regina Leader-Post - - WORLD - JOR­DAN PRESS

OT­TAWA

• A new re­port calls on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to think not just about help­ing peo­ple out of home­less­ness but to pre­vent them from be­com­ing home­less in the first place.

The pa­per re­leased Thurs­day by re­searchers at the Cana­dian Ob­ser­va­tory on Home­less­ness says the money poured into emer­gency ser­vices for the coun­try’s home­less is only one part of the equa­tion, as are ad­di­tional dol­lars spent on hous­ing those who need it.

What is needed is a na­tional ap­proach to stop home­less­ness from oc­cur­ring, sim­i­lar to the pre­ven­tive ap­proach taken in health care, the au­thors say.

They dis­cuss the need for in­come sup­ports for low-in­come earn­ers, such as higher min­i­mum wages or ben­e­fit rates; boost­ing the stock of af­ford­able hous­ing; an­tidis­crim­i­na­tion train­ing for so­cial work­ers, ser­vice providers and first re­spon­ders; as well as a co-or­di­nated ap­proach to poverty spend­ing.

That spend­ing could in­clude, for ex­am­ple, pro­grams tar­geted at help­ing chil­dren in child ser­vices to make the tran­si­tion to adult life, be­cause they are more likely to be­come home­less, making it more dif­fi­cult to pull them out of it.

A spokes­woman for So­cial Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jean Yves Du­c­los said the Lib­er­als’ think­ing on home­less­ness is in line with the ap­proach the pa­per ad­vo­cates, point­ing to fed­eral spend­ing on men­tal­health ser­vices, skills train­ing and the new child ben­e­fit.

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