What is Homelessness?

As we begin to understand the complexities of homelessness, its definition is now used as a banner to encompass four types of living situations. These form a scale in severity and signify a more nuanced approach to addressing homelessness.

The four types of homelessness are:

  1.  Unsheltered, or absolutely homeless and living on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation.
  2.  Emergency Sheltered, including those staying in overnight shelters for people who are homeless, as well as shelters for those impacted by family violence.
  3. Provisionally Accommodated, referring to those whose accommodation is temporary or lacks security of tenure.
  4. At risk of homelessness, referring to people who are not homeless, but whose current economic and/ or housing situation is precarious or does not meet public health and safety standards.

How does it affect me?

You may not think that you are affected by the homeless population who inhabit Hamilton and that although these women’s predicament is unfortunate, it is not your problem. A new report indicates that this is far from the truth. There is a real traceable cost of keeping people homeless and not getting them into stable and secure housing.

The traditional channels of soup kitchens, emergency shelter beds, and in worst case scenarios hospital beds, is an extremely costly method of addressing homelessness.

Getting people who are at risk from homelessness or who are homeless into safe, affordable and permanent housing is crucial for their well being and making sure your tax dollars are put to good use.

To be able to do this successfully, politicians need to be made aware of the problem and need to be reminded that it needs to be a priority issue when they consider housing plans for the area. Affordable housing needs to be made available in order to ease the cost of homelessness, while improving the lives of people who are or who have experienced homelessness.

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