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While men represented the majority of persons living in shelters (60.8%), this differed by shelter type. Most residents in shelters for people without a fixed address (72.8%) and other shelters (89.8%) were men. Meanwhile, residents of shelters for those escaping abuse were predominantly women and their children (96.2%).

Seniors (5.9%) accounted for a small share of shelter residents in 2016. Part of this is attributable to the availability of other types of dwellings with services targeted towards seniors, such as nursing homes and residences for senior citizens.

The vast majority of shelter residents were single (89.1%) and many of these residents earned after-tax income that would put them in low income were they living in a one-person private household (84.7%). The median after-tax income of those living in a shelter because they had no fixed address ($10,576), were escaping abuse ($12,599) and for other reasons ($4,848) was well below half the median after-tax income of individuals aged 15 and older in private dwellings ($30,866).

Shelter residents were also less likely to have a private source of income and more likely to receive government transfers than those living in private dwellings. Almost half (46.9%) of shelter residents had some private source of income and 90.4% received some form of government benefit. Shelter residents (54.1%) were over 10 times more likely to be recipients of social assistance benefits than those who lived in private dwellings (4.6%).

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