Targeting Homelessness in Ontario through Housing

Endoresed in:

January, 2016

Paper Type:

Position Paper


  • Danusha Jebanesan (University of Ottawa)
  • Vivian Tam (McMaster University)


In Canada, chronic homelessness is still a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in part as a consequence of the erosion of the welfare state since the 1980s. Successive governments have responded to the issue with the provision of reactionary services, including the institution of food banks, homeless shelters, and day programs. Compellingly, research conducted in multiple provinces has demonstrated that the costs required to operate these temporary measures actually far exceeds that of addressing some of the upstream factors that contribute to homelessness, including inadequate mental health supports, a lack of affordable housing, and insufficient social benefits. One promising solution to chronic homelessness is rooted in the principle of the Housing First model, introduced in 1992. The housing first model is founded on the principle that housing is the foremost necessary provision that would enable homeless individuals to break the cycle.


  • The Ontario government should commit a portion of its $10 million investment to end housing and homelessness through implementing the Housing First model.
  • The Ontario government should take a leadership role in advocating for the prioritization of homelessness as an issue requiring immediate federal attention and sustainable support.
  • The Ontario government should implement a Housing First model in the 2014 Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) for Ontario Extension to address the needs of the most vulnerable homeless individuals.