Addressing homelessness: risk factors and prevention strategies

On any given night, more than 35,000 individuals are experiencing homelessness in Canada. Each year, there are more than 235,000 individuals who will experience homelessness in the country. The number of people aged 50 and over who are homeless continues to increase. Older adults are at increasing risk of homelessness due to a lack of support, precarious health, economic and housing situations, and a lack of age-appropriate programs and services. Other contributing factors can include the death of a spouse, a lack of social housing, social isolation, or a past filled with abuse and violence.

So, what can be done to prevent homelessness, especially in older adults? The research suggests that several types of housing programs, combined with case management interventions, appear promising compared to usual services. To read more about homelessness and what can be done to help those at risk, read our resources below.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.