Our cities are integral to the prosperity of Canada. They are the economic engines, the cultural linchpins, and are also the intersection point for many national, regional and local issues. This vital place that cities hold in the health and vibrancy of Canada is why we decided to study the current state of poverty, housing and homelessness in Canadian cities.
Through a myriad of expert witnesses, site visits, roundtables and most importantly, testimony from those living in poverty and homelessness, we are saddened to report that far too many Canadians living in cities live below any measure of the poverty line; that too many people struggle to find and maintain affordable housing; and that an increasing number of Canadians are homeless. And despite the thoughtful efforts and many promising practices of governments, the private sector, and community organizations, that are helping many Canadians, the system that is intended to lift people out of poverty is substantially broken, often entraps people in poverty, and needs an overhaul.
What does this mean for the millions of Canadians that live with these daily hardships? It means making tough decisions about putting enough food on the table or paying the rent. It means making the decision to stay in school or to drop out to find a job to help the family. It means that by just struggling to get by, these families cannot even dream about getting ahead.