Calgary Homeless Foundation

Calgary Homeless Foundation

October 14, 2014 17:50 ET

Media Advisory: 2014 Point-in-Time Homeless Count: Alberta's Cities Leading the Way

Embargo until October 17, 2014

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 14, 2014) - On Thursday, October 16, 2014 the Calgary Homeless Foundation and community partners will conduct the first ever multi-city Point-in-Time Homeless Count in Alberta. Over 150 volunteers and 30 organizations are set to participate in the local count. The count in Calgary, organized by the Calgary Homeless Foundation, is sponsored by Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer LLP.

During the three hours of the count, people who are sleeping rough and in emergency shelters, short-term supportive housing and public systems will be enumerated. On January 15th, 2014 CHF undertook a winter count which found 3,533 people as homeless in Calgary. Previously, CHF conducted two point-in-time counts in 2012, enumerating 3,190 people in January and 3,576 people in August of that year. These past 3 counts have demonstrated that growth of homelessness in Calgary has stopped since 2008, when 4,060 people were counted. This can largely be attributed to the fact that 6,000 people have received housing with support in the first seven years of implementation of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness (10 Year Plan). The counts represent only those individuals who were counted, and reflects the minimum number of people in Calgary either sleeping rough (without shelter) or in certain facilities.

This count in October 2014 is part of a broader initiative led by the 7 Cities on Housing & Homelessness (seven cities in Alberta with 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness) in collaboration with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to develop a harmonized approach to homeless counts nationally. Alberta is the first jurisdiction to implement this methodology, leading the way in Canada.

This count serves two important functions: it provides a current snapshot of our overall homeless population and enables us to examine how this population changes over time. By aligning methods across Alberta's cities, we can examine trends using the same definitions. We will for the first time gain consistent data on the profile of homelessness as it currently exists and answer important key questions about gender and age, ethnicity, migration and immigration, homelessness history and needs. Ultimately, this helps us inform solutions to support the goal of ending homelessness in our communities.

The data from the count will then be tabulated, and analyzed with the assistance of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. A full report will be produced in December 2014, which shows the data trends, and breaks down the results.

MEDIA PARTICIPATION

The CHF respectfully asks the media to please not share the date of the count publicly because advance notification of the count has proven to impact the quality of the data if people are aware of the night on which the count is being undertaken.

As well, the reasons for people not accessing emergency shelter are many and when conducting the count teams are, in effect, stepping into people's personal space uninvited. To respect each individual's right to privacy and to ensure the highest quality of data possible, we will not include media in the actual count.

Media are invited to meet with volunteers at the beginning of the evening at the muster point. This will be on October 16, 2014 from 9:30 to 10 p.m. at the Atrium in City Hall. The spokespeople who will be available are:

  • Diana Krecsy, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation
  • Inspector M. Bossley, Calgary Police Service

As well, others will be tweeting throughout the evening at #YYCCount and #ABCount. Preliminary results from the point-in-time count will be released as soon as possible after the data has been compiled.

The Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary's 10 Year Plan and is moving forward in partnership with the many homeless-serving agencies, the private sector, our government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all. For more information, visit www.calgaryhomeless.com.

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