It is estimated that every year approximately 235,000 people experience some form of homelessness. On any given night, 35,000 people are thought to experience homelessness. The number of people who lack stable housing, are under-housed, or are experiencing homelessness has challenged community-based organizations and all levels of governments.

At the same time, the public demand to access clean and safe parks is increasing. Parks are also becoming refuges for people who are unhoused and who may also be struggling with mental illness and addiction. Recreation and parks departments are trying to balance the need to compassionately manage encampments and support those unstably housed with maintaining parks as places for all citizens. Recreation and parks as well as community service departments play an important role supporting underserved populations. This includes the critical role that recreation facilities play during times of crisis (e.g., being used as warming and cooling centres).

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