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Numbers in after County counts and surveys homeless

April 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

The County of Simcoe took part in a coordinated effort to measure homelessness across Ontario along with other municipalities to determine the number of people in the province who are struggling to find a permanent home.

In the region, the project was conducted in a partnership between the County and the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness.

Over a period of three days, a count, along with a survey of individuals who are in staying shelters, short-term housing, temporary accommodations, and those “sleeping rough”, meaning without a shelter, took place.

While the count will be a fairly accurate picture of people who are homeless, it should be noted that other forms of homelessness, such a people staying with friends, are difficult to count.

The count will improve the community’s understanding of the needs and circumstances of the people who are affect by homelessness in the region.

The results also provide data on gender, age, ethnicity, veteran status, and several other categories.

“Through this Point in Time Count, we are able to collect key data that helps us better understand those experiencing homelessness,” said Jen Fleury, Chair, Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness. “This information moves us one step closer to finding solutions together for the who need one.”

Originally, Municipal Service Managers were informed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing through an updated Ministerial Directive that they were to complete a homeless enumeration and start the development of a by-name list by the end of 2021.

However, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks at that time, the County of Simcoe was granted an extension to complete enumeration with data to be submitted to the Ministry by February 15, 2022.

On March 22, 2022, County Council received the results of the count.

The results indicated the highest count of people experiencing homelessness to date.

A total of 441 surveys were completed and 722 people experiencing homelessness were counted.

Preliminary analysis indicates at number of factors contributing to the high numbers including greater need in the community.

The information can be used to plan ahead when it comes to supporting the homeless in the region.

“The Point-in-Time Count goes a long way to gauging where we are in our communities as we continue to build additional affordable rental units across the County,” said County Warden George Cornell earlier this year. “We are well on our way to reaching our goal of 2,685 new units between 2014 – 2024 under Our Community 10-Year Affordable housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy. This is an important tool to ensure that we are providing the vital support required where it is needed the most.”

By Brian Lockhart

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