A snapshot of homelessness in the Cowichan Valley will be taken early next month.
Duncan’s Point in Time Count will get underway on the night of April 11 at local shelters and continue throughout the next day around the valley.
Co-ordinator Carmen Brooks says they’ll be set up in several locations.
She says they will be at the food bank in Duncan, at the wellness and recovery centre on York Road, the Cowichan Community Centre, the neighbour house in Chemainus, the food bank and shelter in Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan Community Services.”
Brooks says volunteers in groups will be canvassing the community asking people if they would like to complete the survey checking areas where homeless are known to frequent so the count can be as accurate as possible.
They have been assisted by a peer advisory group, people with experience in helping the unsheltered, and have been meeting with them every two weeks to get advice on how to find people.
Brooks says that group will also be out on the day of the count conducting surveys
Brooks explains there are “different places in the bush around the communities that people are camping, and we’re also targeting areas that we know people live in their cars, like specific parking lots or streets that the peers have pointed out that they know people stay in.”
Brooks adds, they are being careful not to reveal too much because the peers have warned some homeless are reluctant to say where they stay for fear of repercussions, such as being forced to move along.
The last Point in Time count identified 129 people as unsheltered, but Brooks isn’t trying to guess how many people they might count this time.
Shesays there are now people who have homes in the new supportive housing building in North Cowichan, and adds they will be there to count any guests of the residents in the building.
The data gathered provides an idea of the need for services and identifies if there are gaps in services that should be filled.
The Point in Time Counts are funded by the federal government as part of the national homelessness strategy and are used to create a picture of homelessness in Canada.