The frigid temperatures can make even a quick dash from the car to the grocery store feel like your skin has been hit by a swarm of bees. Once you’re home, however, you can kick off the boots and coat and relax in the safety of your home as you leave the cold behind.
That’s not the case for thousands of homeless people in Canada who live on our streets and alleyways and fill up our shelters. On any given day there are an estimated 30,000 homeless people in Canada and in any given year, more than 235,000 Canadians will experience homelessness, according to a 2016 report by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH).
The Canadian Mental Health Association estimates that 25 to 50 per cent of the homeless population suffer from a mental illness, although, those who work at shelters and see the faces of homeless people every day will tell you the numbers are closer to 70 or 80 per cent.