Report calls for preventive approach to homelessness
• 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.