Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD), in partnership with the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, announced today the key findings of Everyone Counts: 2018 Greater Victoria Point-in-Time (PiT) Count. This is the second PiT Count and survey, the first taking place in 2016, with both initiatives supported by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The key learnings from the 2018 Count and survey are:
- Fewer people were unsheltered and sleeping outdoors on the night of March 15, 2018 - Volunteers found 158 unsheltered people (18% fewer than last count), despite there being more volunteers counting in more communities.
- New interventions to help people experiencing homelessness are in place - More people were surveyed and were found to be receiving assistance through temporary shelters and transitional housing, but many still need access to permanent homes.
- The voices of more people experiencing homelessness were heard this time around -Because volunteers were able to reach out to more youth as well as more people in various health and correction facilities, a total of 1,525 individuals were counted and more than 906 individuals participated in the survey.
- The number of youth experiencing “hidden homelessness” were better captured in the 2018 count – a Youth Magnet event allowed volunteers to reach 50 more youth. Research shows that youth are often the “hidden homeless” who couch surf by staying with friends.
- Youth, Indigenous people and seniors have unique experiences of homelessness – Survey findings showed that homelessness often starts at an early age and that there are culture and age-related barriers to accessing housing as well as services.
- 41% of respondents had their first experience of homelessness at 18 years of age or under.
- Nearly one-fifth of the people surveyed (19.4%) were aged 55+ and 17.4% were under 25 years of age.
- One-third (33%) of respondents identified as Indigenous, much higher than the proportion of Indigenous people among the broader population (4.7%).
Other specific findings from the survey indicate that:
- About two-thirds (67.6%) of respondents identified as male/man and 30.2% identified as female/woman.
- 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 – 83% had lived in Victoria for more than one year and 56.7% of the remaining individuals had lived somewhere in British Columbia prior to coming to Victoria.
- Most are not homeless by choice – 93.7% stated they wanted permanent housing.
- Most were homeless due to economic issues (loss of job, inadequate income) or the need for appropriate services (addictions, health and/or mental health).
The CRD contracted the CSPC to coordinate the survey and PiT Count. The CRD is also currently working in partnership with BC Housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Island Health to deliver the Regional Housing First Program (RHFP), a $90 million partnership through which the CRD, BC Housing and CMHC will fund the development of 400 units of housing offered at social assistance shelter rates to address the needs of people experiencing chronic homelessness in the region.
The results of the PiT Count and survey will be used in conjunction with ongoing shelter-use data as well as information gleaned through planning with respect to the creation of a Coordinated Assessment and Access service and Homelessness Management Information System. These initiatives will improve service delivery as well as facilitate real time reporting of homelessness levels and achieve better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness in the region.
“The effort to address homelessness in the capital region has a large scope that crosses municipal boundaries. The 2018 Point in Time Count was restricted to the Census Metropolitan Area, however the report recognizes a separate count completed on Salt Spring Island and broadened our reach to include the experiences of individuals experiencing homelessness in Sooke.” – Steve Price, CRD Board Chair.
“On behalf of the Coalition, I’d like to express deep appreciation for the time, effort and commitment that individuals and agencies gave to this important research. We especially wish to acknowledge those who participated in the survey and had the courage to share their stories with us. It is with this level of collaboration and dedication that we will see an end to homelessness in the region.” - Lisa Helps, Co-Chair, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
“Although the Point in Time Count process has limitations and can’t track trends over time, it provides a minimum estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night. We thank the many volunteers who helped administer the survey as it provides valuable information that will support service planning and delivery in the region.” - Stefanie Hardman, Research Manager, Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria.
For the full report, visit: https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/what-we-do/regional-housing/research-and-planning
Attachment: Point-in-Time Count and Survey FAQ (PDF)
Proud to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers, 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, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at www.crd.bc.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications