The B.C. Government is partnering with the Homelessness Services Association of BC (HSABC) and BC Housing to conduct community counts throughout March and April, with Cranbrook being chosen for an extended multi-day count.
A total of 26 communities are taking part in the second provincial homeless count, while the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is helping fund 16 counts to the tune of $900,000. That funding will assist in Cranbrook’s extended count and another in Port Alberni, along with supporting additional research on Indigenous homelessness.
“Homelessness in B.C. continues to be a struggle for people, and the barriers that they face vary in different communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Our second provincial homeless count is a way that, together, we can get a clearer understanding of what homelessness looks like in order to better support some of the most vulnerable people in B.C.”
The 2018 homeless count found that at least 7,655 people were experiencing homelessness in 24 communities that were involved in the study, with Cranbrook accounting for 29 people in the one-day count.
More: Cranbrook 2018 Homeless Count (BC Housing)
The B.C. Government said the data collected from the 2020 counts will be used to measure progress in addressing the homelessness issue, to increase public awareness, and improve services and support.
“HSABC is working with our members and partners in participating communities to implement the 2020 homeless counts,” said Stephen D’Souza, Executive Director of HSABC. “It is the work of these local organizations that ensures the counts are a success. Across the province, there are teams of volunteers helping conduct the count and hosting community events for people to count themselves in.”
The 2020 counts will be completed with new and methods as the B.C. Government is working alongside Indigenous partners to specifically highlight their perspectives of homelessness and to further explore ways of preventing and addressing homelessness among the Indigenous population.
Cranbrook’s extended count will be conducted sometime between March and April, as HSABC makes preparations.
“We are still seeking volunteers to help with the homeless counts,” added D’Souza. “This is a great opportunity for you to get involved with organizations working to help those in need in your community.”
More: Cranbrook Volunteer Form (HSABC)
The B.C. Government said the homeless counts fall in line with TogetherBC, the Province’s poverty reduction strategy which was released in 2019 and aims to tackles homelessness in B.C.
More: TogetherBC Poverty Reduction Strategy (B.C. Government)
Here’s the full list of the 26 communities that are participating in the homeless count, 16 funded by the B.C. Government and 10 funded federally or independently:
- Campbell River
- Comox Valley
- Cranbrook (extended count)
- Fort St. John
- Fraser Valley Regional District
- Metro Vancouver
- Parksville and Qualicum Beach
- Port Alberni (extended count)
- Prince George
- Prince Rupert
- Salt Spring Island
- Williams Lake