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66% of Winnipeg’s Homeless are Invisible to the Average Winnipegger

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1,400 Winnipeggers were experiencing homelessness during the first Street Census Survey, completed in 2015. 66% of these people weren’t staying in shelter or sleeping outside, but were still without a home.

This is according to Peg, which is releasing this startling data just ahead of the National Conference on Ending Homelessness which is taking place October 25-27 in Winnipeg. For the first time, Winnipeg is greeting almost 1,000 individuals from across Canada, providing a forum for inspiration, information, tools and training to end homelessness. 

What else can Peg tell us about homelessness in Winnipeg?

Peg tells us…

  • Of those 1,400 experiencing homelessness on the night of the census:
  • 347 were staying at an emergency shelter
  • 333 were staying at another’s house
  • 281 were in transitional housing
  • 242 were in an institution
  • 65 were staying in a hotel/motel, and
  • 132 were sleeping outside.


  • 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, provisionally accommodated 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).


Why does this matter?

  • 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.
  • More detail and source data for the above facts available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/BasicNeeds/homeless/


Source of the data:


Media inquiries:

For interviews on understanding the trend (or the story behind the numbers), organizations making a difference in the community, the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, Peg, or the data, please contact:

Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development

(204) 958-7700 ex 740 | sbath@iisd.ca


Social media:

Twitter: @Pegindicators                            

Facebook: MyPeg                        

Youtube: MyPegCIS


About us:

Peg (mypeg.ca) is a community indicator system that measures the health of our community year over year – in ways that count. Peg is led by two partnering organizations – the International Institute of Sustainable Development  and United Way of Winnipeg.

Peg is the starting place for Winnipeg citizens, educators, policy makers, and many others to learn more about our city so we can lead change to create a better city for our children and their children. At Peg we can all learn how our lives, our neighbourhood and our city is changing – for the good and the bad. Learn more at www.mypeg.ca.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan, charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis, and information exchange. Through their head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and their branches in Ottawa, New York, and Geneva, the Institute champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications. It is dedicated to engaging decision-makers in business, government, non-government organizations and academia on issues around economic and legal frameworks, energy and climate change, water, resilience, and knowledge.

For more information, please contact: Sumeep Bath at sbath@iisd.ca or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 740

IISD contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, natural and social capital, and the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas.