Last week the City, community partners and 200 volunteers conducted the second Point In Time Homeless Count in Red Deer.
The Point In Time Homeless Count provides the City with a snapshot of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in the community and is an opportunity to educate a broad range of stakeholders regarding homelessness. It also provides the City with important data to help guide programs and services in their efforts to end homelessness by 2018.
The first Point in Time Homeless Count conducted in Red Deer was in 2012. This count revealed a total of 279 people found experiencing homelessness.
This was the first year that the count was coordinated Alberta-wide.
Other communities involved in the coordinated effort include Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, the Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Grande Prairie as well as Red Deer.
Preliminary results regarding the count will be released on Nov. 22nd.
“That’s the same day that the results will be released for all seven cities that did the count,” said Janell Bunbury, program coordinator for housing in Red Deer. “All of the communities that participated made sure we used the same set of questions and the same methodology in our counts so that we are able to examine trends and use consistent definitions and consistent data when looking at a profile of homelessness.”
She added the idea to do a homeless count collaboratively stems from an initiative called ‘The Seven Cities’.
“Within Alberta we have a group called The Seven Cities and within that we work collaboratively on a number of issues in terms of homelessness so we all knew we were going to be doing a count this year. We thought that we would work together to make it a collaborative effort.”
Bunbury said in Red Deer a large number of community volunteers also stepped up to help with the count.
“We had approximately 200 volunteers for the night of the count and that included volunteers who went on the street to do the count, those who did the count in the shelters as well as those folks who helped in the command centre,” she said. “The volunteers all said that they had a good experience and it was good awareness in terms of promoting an understanding of homelessness in our community as well.
“The count is really a great opportunity to educate a broad range of people about homelessness as well.”
Bunbury said the volunteers who assisted with the count were able to learn the methodology behind the Point In Time Homeless Count as well as some information about safety when on the streets and approaching individuals.
For more information on the Red Deer Point in Time count, visit www.reddeer.ca/PITCount.