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Homelessness in Toronto vs Metro Vancouver: 5,086 vs 2,623

May 27th, 2011 · 23 Comments

We love to think homelessness only exists in Vancouver because people read about our gold-plated services, great weather, and free drugs. However, a recent twitter flurry prompted me to look up stats from a couple of other cities.

For those who are curious, below is an excerpt from a recent fact sheet on homelessness and housing in Toronto. As you see, there were 5,086 homeless people counted during their single-night count (with 22,000+ different people experiencing homelessness over the course of the year) compared to the Metro Vancouver count of 2,623.

Metro Vancouver’s population is about 2.3 million. Toronto’s — assuming that the City of Toronto count extended only to the current boundaries of the mega-city and not to the Greater Toronto Area overall — is about 2.6 million.

Quick Facts

Updated May2011. All figures are latest available at that time.


  1. Estimated number of homeless people sleeping outdoors in Toronto on April 15, 2009: 4001
  2. Percentage change from estimate for April 19, 2006, date of the previous (and first) survey: -51
  3. Estimated overall number of homeless people in Toronto on the evening of April 15, 2009: 5,086
  4. Percentage change from April 19, 2006: +0.7
  5. Number of different people who used shelters in 2010: 22,276
  6. Number in the first decade of the 21st century’s peak year of 2001: 31,175
  7. Number of Toronto shelter facilities as of May 2011: 57
  8. Number of City-operated shelters: 9
  9. Permanent beds on an average night in 2010: 3,800
  10. Average 2010 occupancy rate for single adult and youth: 93% . (Occupancy rate not available for family sector since capacity expands to meet demand through the use of motels. However, average number of people staying in family shelters nightly in 2010, including children was 879
  11. Number of beds added to the system on nights when there is an extreme cold weather alert: 168
  12. Number of people helped to housing by Streets to Homes staff February 2005 to April 2011: >3,000
  13. Number of households staying in emergency shelters that staff help into permanent housing every year: 4,300

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