A closer look at homelessness: report

  • Dec. 12, 2012 5:18 p.m.

One quarter of Red Deer’s homeless have either full-time or part-time employment, and nearly one in four women who are homeless have children with them, according to the Red Deer Point in Time [PIT] Homeless Count 2012 Final Report.

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.

“The Final Report provides those working to end homelessness with a more detailed picture of who is homeless, factors that may be keeping them homeless, and more importantly, what supports and resources are needed to help them exit homelessness,” said Rebekah McDermott, coordinator with the EveryOne’s Home Leadership Model. “Gaining a better understanding of the homeless population in Red Deer is a critical step in assisting them into permanent housing with access to the supports they need.”

Ninety-eight volunteers surveyed both sheltered and unsheltered individuals within Red Deer City limits on Oct. 16. Occupancy totals were obtained from shelter providers and a comprehensive outdoor enumeration was conducted to capture the most accurate number of homeless persons possible.

A total of 279 people were found to be homeless on Oct. 16.

In addition to providing a snapshot of homelessness in Red Deer, the Final Report also gives a better understanding of the sub-populations affected by homelessness. Detailed information on Aboriginal persons, unaccompanied youth, women, homeless families and the chronically homeless, as well as how programs designed to help the homeless available around the City are being used is included.

One in four respondents reported having either full-time or part-time employment, but were unable to afford housing.

Most indicated that if more housing were available, if rents were lower, or if they had enough money for the first month’s rent plus a damage deposit, they would not be homeless.

Women comprised 32% of the homeless population, and nearly one in four women who were homeless had children with them at the time of the count.

The Final Report also indicates that the majority of homeless persons encountered considered Red Deer home; 65% of respondents reported living in Red Deer for more than one year. The remainder typically came from somewhere else in Alberta or other provinces. Only 3% were recent immigrants to Canada.

The PIT Homeless Count comes as part of EveryOne’s Home: Red Deer’s 5 Year Plan towards Ending Homelessness. Future counts will be conducted every two years.

For more information, read the full report online at www.reddeer.ca.