New OECD report on homelessness and affordable housing


The new OECD work seeks to answer important questions, including: who is homeless? What is driving homelessness? Is homelessness getting worse? And what can be done to reduce homelessness? It shows that homelessness is difficult to measure and even harder to compare across countries. There is no common definition of homelessness, and countries’ data collection efforts differ in their method, scope and frequency.

Homelessness affects less than 1% of the population across the OECD, but nevertheless concerns more than 1.9 million people – and this is likely an underestimate. There is a significant range in homelessness estimates across the OECD, with definitional differences explaining part, but not all of the cross-country variation.

People experience homelessness in different ways. The chronically homeless are a small but visible group, who generally require multiple supports. Meanwhile, a large and in some countries growing number of people are temporarily homeless who may also need various types of support.

The faces of homelessness are increasingly diverse. In many countries, homelessness has become more prevalent among women, families with children, youth, migrants and seniors. The Policy Paper looks at national homeless strategies in various countries, and finds that homeless solutions should be tailored to the varied needs of the homeless. In addition to preventive measures, ‘Housing First’ approaches that provide immediate, permanent housing to the homeless, along with integrated service delivery, may be most effective for the chronically homeless. Emergency support, including rapid rehousing, can help the transitionally homeless.


The full paper is available at:

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