Homelessness is measured as the number of people who identified as experiencing homelessness as part of the Winnipeg Street Census Survey. Absolute homelessness refers to individuals who were unsheltered or in an emergency shelter. Provisionally accommodated refers to individuals in temporary places, transitional housing, institutional settings or at a hotel/motel.

Why This Matters

Homelessness affects a broad spectrum of people, including some of the city’s most vulnerable populations; youth, women and children and seniors. As there are many factors that contribute to being homeless, it often becomes increasingly difficult to regain self-sufficiency the longer a person is homeless (Government of Canada, 2016).

Housing, more specifically affordable housing, is a basic need and is critical to well-being. It provides physical safety and peace of mind and allows individuals to prioritize other necessities that help improve quality of life such as continuing education, being employed, prioritizing health and the ability to build social networks within a community. Homelessness can be the cause of a combination of structural failures (insufficient income, access to affordable housing or health supports or discrimination), systemic failures (transition out of child welfare, inadequate discharge planning out of hospitals, corrections facilities, mental health or addictions facilities, lack of support for immigrants and refugees) or they could be individual and relational factors (personal crises, family violence, mental health or addictions challenges, health challenges or disabilities) (Gaetz, Donaldson, Richter, Gulliver, 2013).

Measurements and Limitations

The Canadian definition of Homelessness was used when developing methodology for the Winnipeg Street census. This definition includes a spectrum of living situations including unsheltered, emergency sheltered, temporary places, transitional housing, an institutional setting and did not have a permanent home to return to and at risk of homelessness. Due to resource limitations and the use of point-in-time methodology, where all data is collected during a specific point in time, the complete range of homelessness was not included in the census. People not surveyed include people who were emergency sheltered due to fleeing natural disasters, people at imminent risk of homelessness and individuals and families who are precariously housed (SPCW, 2015 p.25)

The point-in-time methodology was used in the street census so as to coordinate with Homeless Partnering Strategy of Economic and Social Development Canada’s National Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness which takes place in January/February of the given census year (Government of Canada, 2016). The first Winnipeg Street Census was undertaken on October 25, 2015.

There is a specific limitation to the category, “living in another’s home”, which is defined as “the number of survey respondents staying temporarily at someone else’s place with no guarantee of returning each night.” Because people stay in these circumstances throughout Winnipeg and often do not utilize services, this should not be seen as an estimate of the number of people in this circumstance (SPCW, 2015)

Data Source

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (2018). Winnipeg Street Census 2018 final report. Retrieved from:

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (2015). Winnipeg Street Census 2016 final report. Retrieved from:

Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers.


Gaetz, S., Donaldson, J., Richter, T>, Gulliver, T. (2013). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Retrieved from:

Gaetz, S., Gulliver, T., Richter, T. (2014). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2014. Retrieved from:

Government of Canada (2016). Homelessness Partnering Strategy Coordinated Canadian Point-in-Time Counts. Retrieved from:

Social Planning council of Winnipeg (2015). Winnipeg Street Census 2015 final report. Retrieved from:

Credits for icons to develop graphic: Luis Prado, Ed Harrison, Corpusdelictti, Dilla Chee, Anniken & Andreas, Blair Adams, Nikita Kozin, Artwork bean from:


Homelessness in the Sustainable Development Goals

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11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

Related Homelessness Targets


By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums