Red Deer’s Point in Time Homeless Count and survey will take place in the spring this year to coincide with counts in other Alberta cities and the federal count.
The Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Count will happen April 11, from 9 to 11 p.m., to provide a snapshot in time and is one of the tools, along with data from programs and facilities, to analyze trends to help shape programs and services.
Volunteers are still needed help out with the count.
Tricia Hercina, acting social planning manager, said co-ordinating the counts will provide a provincial picture.
“It gives a more holistic picture. Especially across the province, it mitigates the migration patterns of being double counted or missed,” Hercina said on Monday.
The survey will gather information including age, family status, immigration status, Aboriginal status, income, time spent homeless, and where people are staying – such as a shelter or outside.
She said the PIT count is about more than numbers. It’s about using the survey data so the city is better equipped to align programming to support the needs of the homeless.
“It’s about people and programs that support them.”
She said an aboriginal housing intensive case management program was developed after a recent count that confirmed the over-representation of aboriginal people in the city’s homeless population. Now they have more help navigating the system to find the support they need.
Hercina said right now only the seven major cities in Alberta do PIT counts, but rural networks are forming to look at doing counts in the future. Red Deer County will be shadowing activity in Red Deer on April 11 to learn about the city’s count, but the county’s homeless will not be included.
Volunteers will be paired up and trained. Specialized teams from housing and support agencies will cover more sensitive, such as homeless camps, on the morning of April 12.
Volunteers must be 18 years old and need to sign up by April 3 at www.reddeer.ca/PITCount or by calling 403-342-8100.
The PIT count is funded in part by the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.