Current State of Homelessness in Edmonton

>> At High Risk/Hidden Homelessness

Though less visible, this form of homelessness is the most common where people live in overcrowded, unsafe housing, couch-surf, and/or pay more than 50% of income on shelter while earning very low or no incomes. There is overlap between the hidden and transitional homeless, though we know little about details of these dynamics.

20,395 households, using extreme Core Housing Need Data; this number is higher when considering those in hidden homelessness.

>> Transitional Homelessness

Most people experience homelessness for a short time and infrequently in their lifetime. Usually, this is a result of lack on income or housing affordability challenges. Most exit homeless with minimal or no intervention.

About 8,600 individuals – or 75% of those experiencing homelessness during the course of the year.

>> Chronic & Episodic Homelessness

Some people who experience homelessness, experience recurring episodes throughout their lifetime. This episodic group is likelier to face more complex challenges involving health, addictions, mental health or violence. A small portion (chronic) experience long-term and ongoing homelessness as result of complex barriers, particularly related to mental health and addictions.

About 2,700 individuals – or 25% of the total number experiencing homelessness during the year.

These forms of homelessness are dynamic and people move through these during their lifetimes. Our aim is to target interventions and estimate demand according to the best information we have today, and adjust our approach moving forward as better data emerges.

The Colonial Legacy of Indigenous Homelessness

Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in the homeless population. Indigenous individuals remain vastly overrepresented in Edmonton’s homeless population – 51% of the individuals surveyed in Edmonton’s 2016 Homeless Count identified as Indigenous, compared to 5% of Edmonton’s general population.




The prevalence of Indigenous homelessness reflects the legacy of colonialism, intergenerational trauma, and residential schools, and results in both a physical loss of “home” and a sense of disconnection from social, spiritual, emotional, and physical relationships.

About 23% of Indigenous Edmontonians are in Core Housing Need (with First Nations Status individuals vastly overrepresented at 31.5%) compared to 10% of all Edmontonians.

Edmonton is a key Indigenous migration centre for surrounding and Northern communities. Edmonton is also an important access point for Indigenous community members who live on reserve and in surrounding rural areas and migrate for employment, educational opportunities, or access to services. While there is limited data on the extent of this migration, it is essential to understand Indigenous homelessness as a regional issue that extends beyond the city’s limits.