Homelessness continues to be a major crisis in Canada, but can be solved with investments in affordable housing, according to a national report issued this week involving two University of Guelph professors.

Profs. Jane Londerville, Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, and Marion Steele, Department of Economics, were asked to develop and analyze policies needed to produce sufficient affordable rental housing in Canada to end homelessness.

“This was a complicated calculation, requiring several different policy recommendations to implement,” said Londerville. Both she and Steele are also part of the Guelph Real Estate Group.

Their paper was part of the ”State of Homelessness in Canada” report released Wednesday by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

Overall, the report said homelessness costs more than $7 billion annually, but could be alleviated by spending as little as $46 extra per Canadian a year on affordable housing.

An estimated 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year and 35,000 are homeless on any given night, the report said.

As well, 365,000 households living in poverty have subsidized housing, but federal investment in such housing has fallen by 46 per cent over the last 25 years.

The report makes numerous recommendations for change, ranging from establishing a new federal and provincial affordable housing framework to providing direct financial assistance to poor Canadian households to creating thousands of new affordable housing units over the next decade.

“We hope that the federal government, in conjunction with provincial and municipal partners where required, will implement the proposed recommendations,” Londerville said.

“This, combined with a ‘housing first’ strategy and the funding of appropriate supports to help the chronic homeless stay housed, can go a long way toward ending homelessness in Canada.”

The report is available online. It will also be discussed at the second annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness Nov. 3 to 5 in Vancouver.

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is a non-profit, non-partisan research institute based at York University. The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is a national advocacy group.

Prof. Jane Londerville
Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 53091