A Saskatoon housing group is planning to count the city's homeless population this fall.
The Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) works on housing and homelessness issues in the city. Part of its job is to monitor homelessness in the city, and report back to the federal government on whether progress on reducing or ending homelessness is being made.
The count will be volunteer-driven, and will record all the homeless people searchers can locate in one night.
Since tracking down homeless people can be difficult, SHIP says it plans on working with outreach groups to get better information.
"It's not easy. We really rely on people working in the homeless service sector,"said Executive Director Shaun Dyck Tuesday. "Such as community support officers who know where homeless individuals are residing, say, behind buildings or under bridges,"
Dyck says volunteers also try and get information from homeless people, and offer contacts for support where they can.
"We also do a needs assessment, to understand why people are homeless, what sort of possible services they could use to help them get out of homelessness," he said.
Homelessness appears to be on the rise in Saskatoon. During the last homeless count from 2012, there were 379 homeless people counted. That's a significant jump from 2011, where there were only 264 people counted.
"We're hoping, of course, that homelessness isn't increasing," said Dyck. "But with the price of housing going up and incomes staying pretty flat, we're unsure. That's why we have to do this and keep an eye on things."
The count will likely happen in late September.