Ending Homelessness in Canada: What You Can do to Help
While it is difficult to have an accurate understanding of the scope of homelessness in Canada, it is estimated that on any given night, 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness. And in any given year, over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness. Ending homelessness in Canada is one of the most important social issues in Canada today.
These numbers have dramatically increased over the last several decades, and the resources in place to provide shelter struggle to keep up with the increasing population. Toronto’s Street Needs Assesment ran a point-in-time count, finding that on one night there were 8,715 homeless individuals, where only 2,618 of them were housed in shelters.
The current size, scope, and complexity of homelessness in Canada often lead people wondering how to help the homeless.
Nonprofits to help the homeless in Canada
One way to get involved is to raise money for causes and charities you care about through charity fundraising. From homeless shelters in Canada to reintegration programs, a myriad of nonprofit organizations are dedicated to ending homelessness:
- Old Brewery Mission – Montreal’s Old Mission Brewery is a 125-year-old mission that assists more than 4,000 people each year and helps to transition more than 600 homeless men and women back into society. This nonprofit is the largest resource for homeless men in Quebec and the largest in Canada for homeless women.
- Youth Without Shelter – This organization is an emergency residence and referral agency for Canada’s homeless youth ages16 – 24. It offers an independent shelter as well as provide trauma-informed care. All programs and operations are designed and conducted to be youth-centric.
- The Salvation Army – Since 1882, the Salvation Army has supported more than 400 communities across Canada. It is one of the largest non-governmental providers of social services and has given millions of meals to those in need. It has also assisted in offering shelter and mental health programs to thousands of vulnerable Canadians.
- Calgary Homeless Foundation – The Calgary Homeless Foundation started in 1998 to unify efforts to end homelessness in Calgary. This organization is dedicated to providing leadership for Calgary’s homeless-serving system of care.
- Veterans Emergency Transition Services – This nonprofit provides ground support for Veterans by helping homeless and at-risk veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Working within the community, VETS Canada members attempt to move veterans from the streets or shelters into affordable housing,if available. It also connects the veterans with needed health care, helps them access benefits and services from other organizations, and support them in finding suitable employment.
- Lookout Housing + Health Society – This nonprofit provides housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income who have few, if any, housing options. Lookout Housing + Health Society services 14 municipalities in BC.
- Fred Victor – Fred Victor fosters long-lasting and positive change in the lives of homeless and low-income people across Toronto. This includes programs and initiatives that address: affordable housing; transitional housing; shelters and emergency respite sites; food access services; job training and counseling; health information and community services; and much more. Over 2,000 people access their programs and services every day.
- Inn from the Cold – This organization’s vision is to build a community where no child or family is homeless. It does this by offering a variety of programs to help people experiencing homelessness find housing and achieve long-term independence in Calgary. At Inn from the Cold, over half of the families it serves are Indigenous and 22% are new Canadians.
- Covenant House Toronto– Covenant House is the largest organization in Canada serving youth who are homeless, trafficked, or at risk. Every day the organization services 350 people, provides 3,500 meals each week and provides nearly 5,000 healthcare counseling sessions each year.
Crowdfunding is an easy and effective way to mobilize your community and take action. See how real people in their communities are affecting change and ending homelessness in Canada:
- Homeless Across Canada – Bike Ride – Evan is cycling from Vancouver to Toronto to raise awareness and money for Horizons for Youth, a charity located in Toronto that provides shelter and supportive services to at-risk and homeless youth.
- OUTpost: LGBTQ2S + Youth Support Centre – Over $34,000 has been raised for The Community Health Empowerment and Wellness (CHEW) Project which provides sexual health education and supports homeless and at-risk LGBTQ2S and youth.
- Mission Old Brewery – CHAR-O.T – Nikki is encouraging her community to donate their overtime toward Mission Old Brewery in anticipation of the cold winter months in Montreal.
- 30 Triathlons in 30 Days – Abe Oudshoorn, a triathlete, is training to complete 30 triathlons over 30 consecutive days to raise money for Atlohsa Family Healing Services in London. Atlohsa Family Healing Services is a multi-service non-profit organization that provides community members with Indigenous-led programming and services that offer healing, education, and housing.
How to get started with crowdfunding
Inspire your friends, family, and community to donate to a specific charity you are passionate about. By launching your own certified charity fundraiser, all donations will be sent directly to the charity of your choice. If you have friends or family members who are in need of financial assistance or at risk of becoming homeless, why not start a free online fundraiser for them? Just be sure to check in with your friend before you begin your fundraiser to make sure they’d like you to raise money for them.