About 500 people in Regina are homeless, new research reveals

A new study shows that the number of homeless people in Regina has surged during the past few years.

Community organizations have been calling for more intervention

About 488 people were identified as being homeless in Regina on Sept. 22, according to the Point-in-Time Count. (Leisha Grebinski/CBC)

The number of homeless people in Regina is on the rise, according to preliminary numbers released Wednesday.

About 488 people were identified as being homeless on Sept. 22, in the city's third Point-in-Time Count. That compares with 286 in 2018 and 232 in 2015. 

The count was conducted by Flow Community Projects in partnership with Namerind Housing Corporation as Regina's Community Entity, which administers the government of Canada's Reaching Home funding, aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness across the country.

"People in the community, whether that's community based organizations and frontline workers or managers, for the last couple of years have said that they're seeing an increase," said Addison Docherty, the Regina Point-in-Time count coordinator. "There's just not enough investment."

Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad, the manager of Regina's Reaching Home Community Entity, which released the numbers on Wednesday, said homelessness is a complex issue.

Addressing trauma

"Nobody decides from one day to the other to become homeless," she said. "It's a lifetime of experiences that leads to that. We look to address trauma rather than the symptoms of trauma. Then I think we're going to be in a better position to help people." 

Community organizations in Regina, a city of about 229,000, have been calling for more intervention to deal with the homelessness issue. And Conrad hopes that this year's data will affirm the sense of urgency. 

The count was done in the fall due to COVID-19 public health concerns. The two earlier counts were conducted in spring.

The complete report is set to be released in late January or early February.