Lakehead Social Planning to host homelessness count and registry week in spring

In just a couple months, officials at the Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay, Ont. will once again launch a new homelessness count.

The Point in Time Count and registry week will take place on April 21, 2018

The Point in Time Count will happen on April 21, 2018 for a 24 hour period in Thunder Bay, Ont. During the same time, registry week will also be launched for a duration of seven days. Individuals who are currently homeless will be surveyed in order to determine the issues around homelessness and solutions for housing. (Point in Time Count / Facebook)

In just a couple months, officials at the Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay, Ont. will once again launch a new homelessness count.

Social researcher Bonnie Krysowaty said this year, the Point in Time Count will take place on April 21 for a 24 hour period. She said along with the homelessness count, the city will also launch a registry week that's aimed at surveying homeless people in order to help them find housing.

"Our registry week...will go on for a full seven days and during that time we will be actually taking information from each homeless individual...and hopefully that information will be leading toward housing solutions and supports for those individuals," Krysowaty explained.

The previous homelessness count and registry week took place in January of 2016.

According to Krysowaty, during the 2016 count the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness had a plan to end homelessness by July 2018.

Unfortunately that goal was never achieved Krysowaty said, but it wasn't a complete failure either.

The last homelessness count in Thunder Bay was held in January of 2016. Krysowaty said Service Canada has given each location a deadline to submit their count by the end of April 2018. (Point in Time Count/ Facebook)

"What the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is aiming to do now is to eliminate homelessness that is relative," Krysowaty continued, "so homelessness that is episodic; people that are becoming homeless because of eviction, because of mental health issues, because of addiction."

She said thanks to the alliance's efforts, various levels of government have gathered together over the last few years to find the issues surrounding homelessness and the possible solutions for it.

"In the past three years there have been two separate meetings that have involved municipal, provincial and federal governments together to talk about housing and homelessness in Ontario," Krysowaty said.

"This is something that's never been done before and it's finally happening."

Along with government organizations, Krysowaty said the first data also prompted organizations in Thunder Bay to start streamlining services for individuals looking to find housing and other supports. 

Kysowaty said more than 100 volunteers are still needed for April's Point in Time Count and anyone who is interested in lending a helping hand can do so by visiting the Thunder Bay Point in Time Count Facebook page.