Currently in Canada, emergency response is the prime focus of homelessness services in most communities. These emergency services include homeless shelters, drop-ins, meal programs, outreach services and other activities provided by municipalities, non-profit and community organizations and faith communities.
One of the consequences of this however, is that people become trapped in homelessness for an extended period of time. Services that were meant to provide short-term and temporary “band-aids” to a problem become institutionalized, long-term solutions to the crisis of homelessness.
Emergency services cannot alone form the basis of our response to homelessness, however there will always be a role for these programs. In order to end homelessness though, there is a need to focus both on Prevention and on Accommodation and Supports as these are less costly measures for dealing with the issue.