Canada’s homeless population crisis has gotten worse and requires a bold new direction from the federal government.
“Homelessness is a widespread social concern in Canada and many other developed countries. More than 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness in any given year, and 25,000 to 35,000 people may be experiencing homelessness on any given night.” Said Stats Canada
The Indigenous community account for approximately 4% of Canada’s population and close to 10% of the homeless community. And in some cities, the Indigenous homeless population ranges from 40% to 70%. Seeing as Indigenous services fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, more has to be done for a community that has been historically wronged by their own country.
Each year the Canadian Federal government commits tens of billions of dollars to private and public corporations to fight homelessness, yet the number remain stagnant. With the private and public partnership with the federal government, only small fractions of housing get allocated to low-income families and even less to people living on the streets.
Businesses, whether private or public, are for the most part driven by profit, which makes it hard for government partnerships to succeed.
Then there are the billions committed to the provinces to help implement affordable housing for low-income people. Although these programs have good intentions, they have failed to fix Canada’s homeless problem.
It is time the federal government went in a new direction on how it has been tackling Canada’s homeless problem. It is time to create a new ministry office dedicated solely to constructing and administering housing directly to the people that need them.
This notion may be new to Canada but not to other countries where the federal government is responsible for housing its homeless community. A ministry for housing would allow the government to redistribute the billions of dollars otherwise earmarked for private, public and provincial housing to flow directly into a federal housing program.
A program of such will prioritize housing instead of profits. With the resources available to the federal government, houses can be built at scale at significantly lower costs due to volume. It will also eliminate the red tape and various bureaucratic inadequacies of provincial governments.
If Canada is serious about eliminating its homeless problem, bold new strategies are needed. A national housing program administered by the federal government is paramount.