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Growing number of newcomers, refugees ending up homeless in Canada, studies say

A homeless person is seen in downtown Toronto, on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

OTTAWA — Newly released government figures suggest a rising number of newcomers to Canada are ending up in shelters or are finding themselves homeless.

Two new reports were released this week by Employment and Social Development Canada, offering a glimpse into the extent of the homelessness problem across the country.

The national shelter study, which looked at federal data on shelter users between 2005 and 2016, found an “observable increase” in refugees using shelters.

In 2016, there were 2,000 refugees sleeping in shelters, not counting those facilities designated specifically for refugees — an increase from 1,000 just two years earlier when the figures were first tracked.

Point-in-time counts were also done, offering a one-day snapshot of homelessness in 61 communities that captured not only those using shelters, but also people sleeping on the streets, in transitional houses or staying with others.

That study found 14 per cent of people who identified as homeless in 2018 were newcomers to Canada.

The Canadian Press