“There’s a surge in homelessness for some reason,” said Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. “They don’t know what to attribute it all to yet.”

“Homelessness is caused by a lack of housing. People become focused on shelters as their response.”

He said cities such as Edmonton, Montreal, Hamilton, Guelph, Ont., and London, Ont., have avoided shelter emergencies this year because they have put efforts into housing the homeless in recent years.