Ottawa’s Ten-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan (2014-2023) includes a number of commitments and targets to achieve by 2024. By focusing on an increase in affordable housing options and on ensuring people get the support they need, the Plan envisions fewer emergency shelter stays overall – and stays of 30 days or less (an end to chronic homelessness) – by 2024. To ensure progress, the Alliance measures annual change in several areas related to emergency shelters, housing affordability and the number of new affordable housing options created each year. Of course, shelter data is only one indication of homelessness; other individuals in our community are among the ‘hidden homeless,’ staying with friends and family, or in unsheltered environments. All are without a home of their own.
For the second consecutive year, 2016 saw a rise in the number of individuals using an emergency shelter: from 6,815 individuals in 2015 to 7,170 in 2016, an increase of 355 individuals, or 5.2% (Table 1).
The number of “bed nights” – representing each time a shelter bed is used by an individual – increased from 500,233 to 525,972, an increase of 5.1%.