The Hidden Homeless
Did you know that women’s homelessness is often hidden?
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is helping to address systemic issues facing homeless Canadian women.
Although women tend to account for roughly 25% of the overall homeless population, women and girls tend to slip through the cracks of homeless statistics (The Homeless Hub). All these homeless women are our mothers, aunts, wives, daughters, nieces…our sisters. They are often regarded as ‘hidden’ homeless that do not show up as a statistic because when they are homeless, they may choose to stay with friends or extended family, while escaping scenarios such as domestic abuse or housing eviction. By drawing attention to the fact they are homeless, they risk losing their children.
Tim Richter, Founder, President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) calls this one of the most misunderstood and mis-served homeless demographics in Canada. For Indigenous or gender diverse individuals, the situation is even more dire.
Prior to joining the CAEH, Tim was President & CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, charged with leading the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness – the first plan of its kind in Canada. In the first four years of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan more than 4,000 homeless men, women and children were housed, 3,582 units of affordable housing were funded, and homelessness went down for the first time in 20 years of counting.
Taking these successes to a national scale, Tim founded the CAEH.
Since inception, CAEH has addressed and impacted many issues across Canada through targeted initiatives. Built for Zero Canada is working with 70 communities across Canada, tracking real time data on chronic homelessness or veteran homelessness in 33 of them. Of these communities 8 have reduced chronic and veteran homelessness and 2 have eliminated it completely.
One of these allied networks is The Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network. From the roots of All Our Sisters, after the book of the same name by Susan Scott, the organization was the first of its kind in Canada to specifically address women’s homelessness. By working to define the true problem and identify the causes and solutions of women’s homelessness, they aim to create safe, affordable, and adequate housing for women, girls, and gender diverse peoples.
When starting the CAEH in 2014, Tim credits Place2Give with helping CAEH “get its legs underneath it”. Place2Give was able to be the fiscal agent and host to receive donations until CAEH achieved their own charitable status. Place2Give also helped in the early days by providing administrative and organizational support, as well as helping to establish a network for research.
Place2Give is an incubator for social impact, and without the charitable portion, CAEH wouldn’t be seeing the impact it does today. Without the charitable support of Place2Give, initiatives like the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network could not have happened.