Federal study details shelter users

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Newly released numbers on shelter usage nationally show that the rates of shelter use for indigenous peoples are on average 10 times higher than for the general population and 20 times higher for indigenous seniors.

A federal review of 10 years of shelter data from some 200 emergency shelters nationwide shows that no matter where you go in this country, aboriginals are over-represented in homeless shelters compared to their percentage of the general population.

The results released today mark the first time that federal researchers have estimated in detail the number of aboriginals using emergency shelters and also gives a more detailed picture of the number of homeless veterans in shelters.

Federal researchers estimate that there are 2,950 Canadian military veterans accessing emergency shelters, or about 2.2 percent of shelter users, a number higher than the 2,250 federal researchers estimated in a groundbreaking study more than a year ago.

Those veterans were, on average, more likely to be male and tended to be older than the average shelter user, who was 40 years old.

The study says that more than half of female veterans who used shelters were under age 30.

Here are some of the key numbers from the report:

136,866: Estimated number of shelter users in 2014

156,030: Estimated number of shelter users in 2005

5,057,813: Estimated number of times a shelter bed was used in 2014

4,759,753: Estimated number of times a shelter bed was used in 2005

2,950: Estimated number of military veterans who use emergency shelters

1,095: Estimated number of refugees who use emergency shelters

45,820: Upper range estimate of the number of aboriginals who used a shelter in 2014

40: Average age for male shelter users

36: Average age for female shelter users

2: Percentage of shelter users who stayed in a shelter each year between 2010 and 2014

70: Percentage of shelter users each year who are making their first stay in a shelter

22: Days a family tended to stay in a shelter in 2012

48.3: Days a family tended to stay in a shelter in 2005

(Source: Employment and Social Development Canada, “Highlights of the National Shelter Study, 2005-2015“)

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