Victoria, BC–- The Capital Regional District (CRD), in partnership with Community Social Planning Council (CSPC), the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, announced today the key findings of the 2016 Greater Victoria Point in Time Count (PiT Count).
The findings from the Count indicate that a large majority of those interviewed were British Columbians and many people have been homeless for long periods of time. Most were homeless due to economic issues or their need for appropriate services and almost all of those interviewed were seeking permanent housing solutions. The findings also confirmed that Aboriginal people were overrepresented among homeless populations and that homelessness starts at a young age.
The Count identified 1,387 people as experiencing homelessness. Those counted included individuals in emergency shelters and transitional housing, individuals sheltering out-of-doors, and individuals in public facilities with no fixed address. Of the total number of people counted:
- 935 (67.4%) were male and 452 (32.6%) were female
- 120 (8.6%) were youth and 123 (8.9%) were children
- 53.6% were between the ages of 30 and 54 years of age
- 25.6% were 29 years or younger and 20.8% were 55 years or older
721 individuals completed the survey. The survey findings indicate that:
- Many have been homeless for long periods of time – 78.8% had been homeless for more than 6 months over the past year
- A significant majority were British Columbians – 71.8% had lived in Victoria for more than one year and 58.3% of the remaining individuals had lived somewhere in British Columbia prior to coming to Victoria
- Most are not homeless by choice – 91% stated they wanted permanent housing
- Aboriginal people are overrepresented among homeless populations – 235 (32.6%) indicated Aboriginal ancestry whereas Census figures show only 5% of the region ’s population is Aboriginal
- Most were homeless due to economic issues (loss of job, inadequate income) or the need for appropriate services (addictions, health and/or mental health)
- Homelessness starts at a young age – 36.9% were under the age of 18 years when they first experienced homelessness
- People who are homeless need services to help them address addictions and substance use issues, serious medical conditions, mental health issues, physical disabilities, brain injury and learning disabilities
The CRD contracted the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) to coordinate the PiT count, which is funded by the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy. The CRD is also currently working in partnership with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, BC Housing and Island Health to map out the supportive and supported housing programs in the region with an eye to identifying gaps and bottlenecks in service delivery. The results of the PiT Count and the mapping initiative will be used to inform efforts to improve existing and/or add new programs and services that meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the region.
“The Count represents a real community effort to gather information that is crucial to our understanding of homelessness in the region,” said Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Chair of the Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission and official spokesperson for the PiT Count. “This information will be used to inform the CRD and other key stakeholders in planning and developing new projects to address the needs of these vulnerable populations.”
“The PiT Count provides a strong reminder of how far we have come as a community and that there is still work ahead,” said Lisa Helps and Gordon Gunn, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness Co-Chairs. “The data clearly demonstrates that it’s not just about four walls and a roof. It is about ensuring every individual in the region has access to the housing and supports they need. We can use this information as we move forward to provide better support to those community members that for too long have been affected by homelessness.”
“The PIT count confirms what we at the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness already believe to be true – the number of Aboriginal people facing housing challenges is excessively disproportionate to the majority population, which further validates the need for culturally-based solutions that recognize the unique needs of Aboriginal people,” said Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, Interim Executive Director, Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness.
“The success of the Point in Time Count was the result of enormous community effort,” said Marika Albert, Managing Director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria. “We could not have done this without the contributions of the team who worked non-stop for 3 months to make the event happen, the over 200 volunteers who generously donated their time and energy, the community social services providers who committed staff time and resources, event sponsors who provided resources and who kept us fed during the count, and importantly, the people who shared their stories about their experiences of homelessness.”
For the full report, visit https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/what-we-do/regional-housing/housing-policy-and-programs/regional-housing-trust-fund
Celebrating 50 years! The CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24 member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, enhance community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Chair, Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission