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Ottawa Homeless – How to Help Them

Many view homelessness as the result of personal failure and inability to function within social boundaries but there are structural and personal causes such as family background, poor mental or physical health, poverty, and lack of social support.

Ottawa Homeless: Causes, Statistics, and Facts

Similarly, there are many reasons why people become homeless in Ottawa – poverty and under-employment, lack of education and essential skills, lack of affordable housing, and individual factors such as poor health, rent or mortgage arrears, poor financial decisions, bankruptcy, and more. Poor financial literacy, habits, and behavior often result in excessive debt, foreclosure, and repossessions. Borrowers who are unable to cover their monthly payments toward mortgages and secured loans risk losing their homes and other valuables. Reports show that in Ottawa, more than 6,700 people live in shelters and some 530 live on the streets. The unemployment rate is close to 7 percent and higher for vulnerable minorities and groups. It seems that fewer homeless people use the shelters but this is coupled with longer shelter stays. Experts warn that this is the result of a considerable shortage of affordable housing, especially when it comes to larger families with many children. The same goes for single parents and single persons in need of housing. There are thousands of people who are waiting for community housing, with long wait times of 4 – 5 years. At the same time, there are homeless people living in shelters who are unwilling to take advantage of community housing programs. One of the main reasons is the prevalence of drugs.

How to Help Homeless People

One way to help homeless people in Ottawa is to join a non-for-profit organization and become a volunteer. You can donate or get involved in different ways such as assisting with administration, fundraising, and so on. Non-for-profits accept donations in different forms, for example, cleaning products, belts, boots, deodorants, socks, conditioners, shampoos, and other items. You can also donate crafts supplies, jewelry, beads, arts, and even beer bottles. Non-for-profit organizations offer different programs that benefit homeless people, including youth workforce initiatives, outreach, housing works, and many others. Housing programs, for example, help homeless and at-risk young people to find affordable housing. Many homeless people are unemployed or seasonally employed and are unable to cover the last and first rent. It is hard to save money and find a meaningful, well-paid job while living on the street. Programs cover incidental expenses, move in costs, furniture, and two months of rent. Subsidies are offered to young persons based on the amount saved toward housing costs. Non-for-profits also work with young persons who are unemployed to help them find a job.

There are large organizations across Canada as well as local organizations and non-for-profits you can join. In addition, you can also donate to religious organizations, mosques, temples, and churches and charitable organizations or you can emergency services for assistance.

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