Dufferin joins 20,000 Homes campaign to reduce homelessness in Canada

May 25, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Dufferin County has once again signed up to participate in a nationwide initiative designed to combat homelessness across the country.

The 20,000 Homes Campaign aims to permanently house some of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people and Dufferin County and the Community Advisory Board has joined forces with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) to help alleviate issues in our community.

“The 20,000 Homes Campaign is a grassroots movement of communities working together to permanently house some of our most vulnerable homeless neighbours,” says Tim Richter, President and CAO of CAEH. “Homelessness is a solvable problem and we believe if we work together, apply proven strategies like Housing First, we’ll achieve meaningful, nationwide reductions in homelessness within three years.”

According to CAEH, approximately 235,000 people will experience homelessness over the course of a year. The organization suggests that of those 235,000, as many as 33,000 are considered to be chronic or episodically homeless, meaning they have been homeless for a long time or experience episodes of homelessness over the course of their lives.

Chronic and episodically homeless people often struggle with deep poverty, trauma, mental illness and addiction, along with complex and, often, multiple medical problems. Research shows conclusively that people experiencing homelessness have higher mortality rates and a lower life expectancy than other Canadians.

While Dufferin is considered to be in one of the more affluent regions in Ontario, the community has its issues with poverty and homelessness. In a report commissioned by County Council last year, it was found that ten percent of people in Dufferin live in poverty and one in nine are at risk of homelessness. Anna McGregor, Dufferin’s acting Director of Community Services, indicated the county’s involvement in this nationwide scheme was a positive step for its most vulnerable residents.

“Although homelessness in Dufferin County is not as visible as it is in larger municipalities, it does exist and we are working hard to address it,” Ms. McGregor said. “Through our partnership with the Community Advisory Board we are making great progress in ensuring that everyone in Dufferin County has a home first and foremost.”

The campaign in Dufferin will engage volunteers to get to know homeless people by name and assess their housing and health care needs. Surveys were carried out in the community earlier this month, with County staff now working on prioritizing entry into housing based on urgent need. They will then work with various community partners to house those considered to be most vulnerable.

While this program has been a success since its launch in 2014, with 14,056 people housed across 44 participating communities, Mr. Richter fears that hard work alone won’t completely fix one of Canada’s biggest issues. The organization has pledged to end homelessness in Canada by 2020, but Mr. Richter wants some help from Ottawa.

“We’re going to extract every ounce of value we can from existing resources to get people housed,” Mr. Richter said. “But to end homelessness in Canada, we will need meaningful federal investment in affordable and supportive housing.

For more information on the campaign, visit

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.