Better data means bigger list, but not necessarily more homeless in Windsor
Since May 2018, the program has seen 326 people housed
It's been more than a year since the City of Windsor's By-Names Prioritized List first launched — and the number of people identified on the list of homeless in the city has grown significantly, but the city says that doesn't necessarily mean the homeless population has grown.
Kelly Goz, co-ordinator of Housing Administration and Development for the city, said it's a "real-time" list of everyone experiencing some form of homelessness in the community, in an effort to get them off the list and into long-term housing.
"What we currently know, at the end of August, is that we have 457 people who are currently experiencing some form of homelessness," Goz said, explaining that 299 of those people are "chronic" or experiencing long-term homelessness.
The total number for August 2019 has grown from the 296 people who were on the list when the program first officially launched in May 2018.
"It doesn't mean that there are more people in the community who are homeless, but that we have a better means of collecting data," she said.
Goz said with better data and data collection comes increased access to housing resources in the community and increased access to case management support.
There are about 30 different organizations and 300 staff throughout Windsor-Essex participating on the list, and referring people they're working with within their own agencies who they know to be experiencing some form of homelessness.
"Every time we add another organization who is participating on the list, with that comes a small increase in the number of folks that we know are experiencing homelessness," said Goz.
Since May 2018, the program has seen 326 people housed. 77 of those people were supported through case management, and others were able to resolve it on their own, Goz explained.
"We know through literature and best practice that the majority of folks who are experiencing some form of homelessness have the means or the supports through agencies in the community to assist them to resolve their own episode of homelessness."
Goz said the city is using the data to see where gaps might exist in service.
"We're working closely with the health sector, the justice sector, the non-profit social agency sector and with private market landlords to see how we can increase housing placements throughout the community," said Goz.
"The ultimate goal is to make sure folks have a safe and secure place they can call home."
With files from Katerina Georgieva