Sudbury

Sudbury to conduct 'one-night only' count of homeless in March

The City of Greater Sudbury will be conducting a homeless count next month. The federal government is asking for the statistics of the number of people using local shelters, transitional homes or living on the street.

On Mar. 24 everyone staying in local shelters, transitional homes or on the street to be counted

The city of Greater Sudbury will be conducting a point-in-time count of those using local shelters or living on the street. The homelessness enumeration is a requirement for federal funding. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Every community across Canada, including Greater Sudbury, will be conducting a homelessness enumeration this year.

The federal government is conducting a coordinated Point-in-Time (PiT) count of the number of people using local homeless shelters, transitional homes or living on the street.

"It's just a snapshot of that one time," Sudbury's coordinator of shelters and homelessness, Gail Spencer said.

On Monday she told the community services committee about the enumeration plans coming up next month.

Gail Spencer is the coordinator of Shelters and Homelessness for the City of Greater Sudbury. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

"The federal government is only asking us to count the people that are actually staying in our shelters, in our transitional homes or on the street. So we're not counting people who are couch surfing, we're not counting people in the hospital," she said.

The information collected within that one day will provide demographics about shelter users.

"It really gives us a much clearer picture of the people that we're trying to serve and support and become housed," Spencer said.

The data will also provide the city with details on where resources could be reallocated for specific needs.

"We know that Indigenous people are over-represented in our homeless population, therefore we want to make sure that all our services, support, and programs are culturally appropriate," she said.

Much larger scope during 2018 count

There was a large homeless study done in Greater Sudbury in 2018. That count took several weeks to conduct and involved researchers from Laurentian University. 

That research involved counting all those who were considered homeless — not just those using local shelters, but also those who were couch surfing, staying in hospitals and jails and accessing social services.

"At the time the provincial government was asking for a much larger scope," Spencer said.

It really gives us a much clearer picture of the people that we're trying to serve and support.- Gail Spencer, coordinator of shelters and homelessness, Greater Sudbury

"This count will be a lot smaller in scale and scope. It's just going to be one night only, and the city is administering it with our community partners."

The homelessness enumeration in Greater Sudbury will take place on Mar. 24. Spencer says those results will be presented to Sudbury city council this summer.

All communities across Canada have been asked to conduct similar counts. It's a requirement to receive federal funding to address homelessness.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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