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The Government of Canada is supporting communities in the first national homeless Point-in-Time Count
January 5, 2016 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
This year, the Government of Canada, in partnership with 30 communities across Canada, will lead the first broadly coordinated Point-in-Time (PiT) Count of homelessness.
Participating communities will follow a common methodology. Between January 1 and April 30, they will select a 24-hour period during which they will survey and enumerate all of the individuals in their community who are, at that time, sleeping in shelters, on the streets, and in other public locations.
The PiT Count survey will provide vital information to participating communities about their homeless population, helping to identify their needs and plan their resources accordingly. The information collected will also contribute to the Government of Canada’s ongoing work in combatting homelessness, and will guide the development of a broader strategy to help ensure that all communities have the opportunity to be part of nationally coordinated PiT Count.
- The first coordinated Point-in-Time Count is an initiative that takes place under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).
- The HPS is a community-based program that aims at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing help and financial support to 61 urban communities, as well as Aboriginal and rural and remote communities across Canada, to help them address their local homelessness needs.
- This will be the first PiT Count coordinated in communities across the country, using a common methodology.
- Since the launch of HPS, more than 82,000 Canadians who were homeless or at risk of homelessness have received help to secure more stable housing; over 35,000 have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 34,000 have received help to find work; and almost 6,000 new shelter beds have been created.
“Through the Point-in-Time Count, communities across Canada will gain a better understanding of homelessness and will develop the necessary supports where they are most needed. I am pleased that the Government of Canada is actively participating in this collaborative effort in finding solutions to help Canadians lift themselves out of poverty.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
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A Point-in-Time (PiT) count is managed through the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), in partnership with communities across Canada and other key entities.
A PiT Count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to enumerate individuals in a community who are, at a given time, staying in shelters or “sleeping rough” (e.g., on the street, in parks), providing a “snapshot” of homelessness in a community. PiT counts include a survey that can provide communities with information on the characteristics of their homeless population (e.g., age, gender, Veteran status, Aboriginal identity).
This information can be used by communities to direct resources to areas of greatest need, and to connect individuals with specific backgrounds to targeted supports to help them achieve stable housing. When completed in subsequent years, it can also be used to track changes in the homeless population over time and measure progress in reducing it.
In Quebec, the HPS is administered through a formal agreement that respects the jurisdiction and priorities of both governments in addressing homelessness. Ongoing discussions with Quebec will determine the recommended strategy to encourage future participation in a nationally coordinated PiT Count by communities in the province.
Homelessness Partnering Strategy
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to communities across Canada. The Government of Canada announced nearly $600 million over five years (2014-19) starting in April 2014 to renew and refocus the HPS using a Housing First approach.
Housing First is an initiative under the HPS which primarily involves moving individuals who are chronically or episodically homeless from the streets or homeless shelters directly into permanent housing. Permanent housing is complemented by the provision of services to assist clients to sustain their housing and work towards recovery and reintegration into the community. The implementation of Housing First is being phased in, taking into account varying capacities and resources among communities.
Communities retain flexibility to invest in other proven approaches that complement Housing First. The federal government continue to work in partnership with provinces and territories, communities, the private sector and other stakeholders to reduce homelessness.
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