Sudbury bridge

The underside of a bridge in Sudbury, Ont. is often shelter to numerous homeless people in the area.

A group of researchers in Sudbury is counting the number of homeless people in various communities across northeastern Ontario.

The Poverty, Homelessness and Migration Network has found that generally, close to two people of every 100 is homeless — and that means there are hundreds of people in Sudbury who need help.

The group is headed by professors of social work at Laurentian University. The director there says 700 is conservative estimate for the number of homeless people in the city.

“We focused on the downtown area, that is the former city of Sudbury, not the outlying communities,” Carol Kauppi said. “Whereas with North Bay and Timmins, we have included the outlying areas.”

Kauppi said the definition of homeless includes those who have temporary homes.

“We were able to count not just people who are absolutely homeless, but those who are at great risk of losing their housing or living in substandard housing,” she said.

“We do this for seven days, so that we have a more comprehensive count of the number of people. I always want to say this is a conservative estimate because it is voluntary.”

In Timmins, there are about 700 homeless people. There are 513 in North Bay and 71 in Hearst, Kauppi said. Results for Cochrane aren’t available yet.

The numbers include people who are couch-surfing or in temporary housing and at risk of becoming homeless.

The research has been conducted over the last couple of years and the numbers in Sudbury were collected in 2009.

Stay tuned to CBC Radio One in Sudbury and northeastern Ontario all this week for more on this story. Our series is called No Fixed Address and airs on Morning North and Points North, as well as on our local newscasts.