A total of 279 people were found to be homeless on Oct. 16, according to the initial results of the 2012 Red Deer Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Count.
Of the 279 people, 95 (35%) were sheltered and 184 (66%) were unsheltered, meaning they were encountered in parks, on the streets or sidewalks, at drop-in centres or at meal programs.
This year’s PIT Homeless Count found that 37.1% were youth under the age of 25; 31.4% were female and 44.4% were self-reported as Aboriginal.
The City of Red Deer, in partnership with the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, conducted Red Deer’s first PIT Homeless Count to determine the overall scope of homelessness and provide a baseline to inform strategies for ending homelessness in Red Deer.
An official report will be released in mid-December.
Future counts will be conducted every two years.
“We look forward to the more detailed report in mid-December as it will give a better understanding of those affected by homelessness, how they are currently using services and programs, and what other services or strategies would be helpful in finding permanent stable housing,” said Rebekah McDermott, coordinator with the EveryOne’s Home Leadership Model.
Ninety-eight volunteers walked through the community on Oct. 16 surveying individuals within Red Deer City limits.
“I was inspired and amazed by people’s willingness to take the surveys. Their responses were raw and honest,” said Kathy Cave, volunteer on the night of the PIT Homeless Count. “This experience has made me realize that we need to come together as a community to end homelessness; we all have a part to play.”
Between April 2009 and March 2012, Red Deer has used provincial funding to house 344 chronically or episodically homeless individuals.
Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 through federal funding 36 youth accessed the winter mat program, 118 youth received support through the Community Support worker, and four youth were supported into appropriate housing.