Monday, March 4, 2024

This volunteer-powered survey aims to determine Victoria’s houseless population growth

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In early March, a team of volunteers will spread out all over the city to try to count how many people in Greater Victoria are impacted by homelessness.

Beginning in the evening of March 7th and through the next day, teams from the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC), the Capital Regional District (CRD), the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region, along with many volunteers will tally up how Victoria’s houseless population has either grown or shrunk. 

“Homelessness is a reality for too many Canadians and a challenge for every Canadian community,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion.

“It’s crucial that we base our decisions on accurate and sound data.”

Hussan expressed that Greater Victoria’s Point-in-Time (PiT) survey helps government agencies and organizations make informed decisions about how to reduce homelessness going forward.

The Canadian Government has set the goal of reducing homelessness by 50% by 2028 and the CSPC has been the leading agency conducting this survey since it began in 2016.

“The PiT Survey provides critical public information on causes and experiences of homelessness in our region,” says Diana Gibson, Executive Director of the CSPC. 

“The data from the PiT is used to support planning, services and de-stigmatize homelessness.” 

The volunteers conducting the survey will count people who stay in shelters, short-term housing and people who are sleeping rough — living without shelter in tents or on the street.

“The Point-in-Time Count is an important part of Victoria’s response to homelessness,” said City of Victoria Mayor, Marianne Alto. 

“It helps us measure the utility of existing programs, more effectively coordinate resources in our community, and inform how we provide services to unhoused Victorians.” 

Volunteer Victoria will be joining forces with the CSPC to get the people-power recruited to undertake a project of this scope. The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness will also be joining the project for Indigenous outreach and to provide a cultural lens through all steps of the survey.

This project is funded by the Government of Canada who have committed $116,800 through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. 

Victorians wishing to volunteer can do so online

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Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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