Examining the prevalence of chronic homelessness among single adults according to national definitions in Canada
Keywords:Chronic homelessness, Definitions, Prevalence
This article examines the prevalence of chronic homelessness when applying definitions used in Canada to a sample of homeless and vulnerably housed single adults enrolled in a multi-city longitudinal study. The federal government’s current definition, Reaching Home, identified the highest proportion of homeless single adults (31 percent; 95% CI = 27.2 – 34.1) as “chronically homeless.” Our findings suggest that the federal definitions of chronic homelessness, which are based on both shelter stays and periods of homelessness outside the shelter system, are double the size of this sub-population when compared to definitions based on shelter stays alone. Participants who were male, identified as Indigenous, and reported problematic drug use, were more likely to be chronically homeless for definitions based on any-kind of homelessness. The findings highlight the importance of counting unsheltered and hidden homelessness to estimate the number of single adults who are chronically homeless.
Copyright: Institute of Urban Studies