Volunteers try to put number on Edmonton homeless
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | 4:30 PM MT
More than 100 volunteers were out on Edmonton streets Tuesday trying to find out how many people are homeless.
The count, which happens every two years, is organized by Homeward Trust Edmonton.
"The homeless count is really critical in a lot of planning that's done," said executive director Susan McGee.
"All orders of government use it to inform decisions. We will certainly be using it to communicate the situation and hopefully lobby for some change where it's appropriate."
The homeless count started Tuesday morning and will continue until midnight.
Volunteers tallied numbers in parts of Edmonton that tend to attract more transient people, from downtown and north to 118th Avenue, and west to Jasper Place. They will also do counts around Whyte Avenue.
They will also survey people in homeless shelters, health centres, libraries and bottle depots, and ask them whether they have a place to live.
In 2006, volunteers counted about 2600 people living on the streets.
Volunteer Daryl Kreuzer said he noticed more families with children on the street this year, something he said surprises and shocks him.
"The implications for the children are much more severe. Not having a stable place to come home to and call home, have a good night of sleep and get ready for school the next day," he said. "So yeah that is another significant change."
Homeward Trust plans to release the numbers gathered on Tuesday in about two weeks.
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