In Canada, approximately $27 billion is spent annually to fund services that deal with homelessness, including the related issues of poverty, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, poor health and childhood trauma. Another $6.5 billion annually is spent on social assistance programs, health care, and the police and justice systems when their roles intersect with homelessness. Thus, $33.5 billion is spent each year on an array of 167,000 fragmented services provided by both government and non- profit organizations across the country. Ontario alone has some 60,000 social and community services in operation, while Alberta has 20,000. There must be a better, more cost-effective way to achieve results through co-ordinating this confusing jumble of services.
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The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary