When There's No Place Like Home - A snapshot of women's homelessness in Canada

Women sleep on the streets of our major cities, a virtual guarantee of experiencing sexual assault. Women trade survival sex with men for a place to crash for the night. Teenage girls, fleeing sexual abuse, violence and homophobia at home, squat in unsafe abandoned buildings, or move in with older men to survive.

The traditional image of a bundled man asleep on a sidewalk may be what comes to mind for most Canadians when homelessness is mentioned. The reality is more varied and complex. Conservative estimates suggest anywhere from 150,000-300,000 people are homeless in Canada. Street counts show 25-30% of people living on the streets or in shelters in large Canadian cities are women. Toronto shelters saw a 78% increase in shelter use among single women between 1992 and 1998. Young women are homeless in alarming numbers. Families experience homelessness, and single parent families, mostly led by women, make up the majority of homeless families.

Read a factsheet from YWCA Canada about women and homelessness on the Homeless Hub.