Thunder Bay Seeks to Count the Homeless

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Shelter House
Rotary Shelter House on George Street in Thunder Bay
Shelter House
Rotary Shelter House on George Street in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – NEWS –  Thunder Bay Community partners kicked-off the Point in Time (PiT) Count and the 20,000 Homes Campaign today at City Hall to enumerate and identify homelessness in the city. This is the first coordinated homeless count among communities across Canada, and it also marks the first community to conduct the 20,000 Homes Registry in conjunction.

The PiT Count will provide vital information to participating communities about their homeless population, and contribute to the understanding of homelessness in Canada. A PiT Count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to anonymously 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.

The Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre and the Lakehead Social Planning Council are leading the initiatives along with support from the Drug Strategy and Council-approved Poverty Reduction Strategy, both of which have housing as pillar of focus. The coordinated initiatives are being supported by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. The PiT Count is being funded by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

“Tonight’s homeless count is truly a shared vision built on a foundation of partnership between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community including the City of Thunder Bay,” said Charlene Baglien, Executive Director of the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre. “We are eager to support our homeless people and make a difference in their lives, and the community as a whole.”

This weekend also launches Thunder Bay’s participation in the 20,000 Homes Campaign – a national movement of communities working together to house 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2018. The aim is to identify, by name, those who are homeless in a given community and assess their vulnerability in order to prioritize their housing needs. Tim Richter, President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness was in Thunder Bay at the Kick-Off event for both initiatives.

“Thunder Bay is joining a growing national movement of communities taking urgent and immediate action on homelessness,” said Tim. “The surveys conducted this weekend will provide the type of actionable, person-specific information we need to begin housing our most vulnerable homeless citizens.”

The PiT Count starts tonight at 6 pm, and will run for 24 hours. Approximately 100 volunteers have signed up to support this work.  The Registry will take place in conjunction, and will continue until Jan. 21.

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