In March, over 140 volunteers hit the streets of Greater Victoria in an effort to get a rough count of all the houseless population living in the region.
The Capital Regional District (CRD), in collaboration with the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) and the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region, conducts this count every few years in order to keep track of trends and know how many people require resources that are unique to houseless Victorians.
The initiative is called the Point-in-Time (PiT) Count.
“The CRD, as the Community Entity on behalf of the Government of Canada, helps to facilitate the PiT count which is instrumental in informing us of the magnitude of our homeless crisis, and the work yet to be done to make progress,” said Colin Plant, Chair of the CRD.
“The findings of the survey add a voice to the needs of people with lived experience of homelessness and help ensure support systems better serve vulnerable populations in our community.”
On Thursday, August 3rd, the CRD announced the results. This year the count registered at least 1,665 houseless people living in Greater Victoria — emphasizing that this is a rough count and merely represents the number of people that were able to be counted in one evening.
The CRD says the count is and always has been approximate because some houseless individuals prefer their privacy and don’t want to take part in the count while others experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’ are difficult to identify and count.
Despite its approximation, this new PiT count does represent an increase from 2020’s count of 1,523.
“The results of the 2023 PiT demonstrate that, in spite of best efforts, far too many continue to experience homelessness in our region,” said Sylvia Ceacero, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region.
“The suffering and the long-term effects of homelessness cannot be underestimated.”
“As a community, we have to do better: better at addressing the pathways into homelessness; better at supporting our unhoused neighbours; better at providing the conditions that will see everyone housed, healthy and thriving,” she added.
The goal of the count is to bring real, tangible solutions to reduce homelessness in the region, or at least figure out ways to better serve the population.