A look at the challenging task of Counting Canada's homeless veterans

·1 min read

Accurate data about the number of homeless veterans in Canada remains elusive, but various studies have been conducted in recent years to try to get a handle on the situation.

One report from Employment and Social Development Canada says 1.8 per cent of people who used an emergency shelter in 2016 self-identified as having served in the military, which equates to around 2,340 veterans.

However, a separate point-in-time count of people in shelters in 61 communities across Canada in 2018 found that 4.4 per cent of shelter users identified as veterans.

Various other studies have pegged the actual number between 3,000 and 5,000.

Veterans Affairs Canada estimates there were 629,300 former service members in the country last year, which represent about 1.6 per cent of the population.

All of the studies show the homeless veterans population is made up predominantly of men, with a smaller proportion of women than the non-veteran population in shelters.

Veterans also tend to be older than the non-veteran homeless population.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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