Results from Red Deer’s Point in Time (PIT) Count show the number of persons experiencing homelessness in the city has decreased to 144 individuals in 2018 from 149 in 2016.
This year street homelessness was down 48.6 per cent, with 19 unsheltered individuals counted in 2018, down from 37 in 2016. This balanced with an increase of 11.7 per cent in the number of people visiting emergency shelters, with 86 people counted in 2018 up from 77 in 2016. This increase is positive news as these individuals have connected with a safe place to spend the night. Shelter use is an entry point into the housing continuum; a way for people to start on a path to stable housing and access to support services offered in the community.
“We recognize that the paths that lead people into homelessness are varied and complex,” said Tricia Hercina, Acting Social Planning Manager. “The information provided by the PIT count helps us to coordinate appropriate support services, and to find safe, stable housing for those in need.”
Red Deer is fortunate to have a dedicated group of individuals and organizations devoted to ending homelessness in our city. This year approximately 25 organizations and 180 community volunteers participated in Red Deer’s 2018 PIT count.
The 2018 PIT count was conducted in shelters, on the streets, in the hospital and correctional facilities, and in transitional housing. As a change in methodology this year, enumerators conducted the count in the spring instead of the fall and adjusted the number of areas covered to align with the provincial initiative led by the 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness and with the federal government guidelines.
“Our community has a coordinated approach to affordable housing and is working to even further integrate our housing delivery model,” said Mayor Veer. “Local efforts to house individuals are ongoing, and as this Point in Time Count indicates, we are achieving success. We continue to advocate to the Province for shelter capacity and additional affordable housing stock for our most vulnerable citizens.”
This was the fourth time the Point in Time count has been conducted in Red Deer. The count is done every two years as a snapshot in time of homelessness in the city. It is coordinated with communities across Canada and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). The data collected is used to build an understanding of how the population changes over time and what their needs are so housing programs and support services can be improved.
For more information on the Point in Time Count visit www.reddeer.ca/PITcount. To read the annual report on homelessness or for more information visit www.reddeer.ca/homelessness.
-Submitted by City of Red Deer