Earlier this month, the results of the homeless count conducted in the City were released, with the number hitting 488.
The Point in Count (Pit) was conducted earlier this year to find 488 homeless individuals. That number is a significant increase from the two previous Pit counts, conducted in 2015 and 2018, where 232 and 286 individuals were found to be homeless.
Mayor Sandra Masters said you could see the increase in homeless individuals reflected in the City.
“I do know when the tent city was up for the six weeks, social services response was that they were seeing people that weren’t in the system,” she said. “Some of that is either folks falling off whatever pathway they were on, folks coming in from other communications into the City because the services are located here, and the other is that addiction is a lifelong battle that they go through.”
Masters said that she feels they have enough housing but don’t have the wraparound supports.
“The government did announce a call for some of those wraparound supports; again, it’s a really complicated issue,” she noted. “You have to find the people that are trained and skilled in those wraparound supports and then find either the houses or apartment blocks that you can provide them to, and then you have to accept the fact that some folks aren’t going to want to interact with the system at all.”
Masters added that she hopes programs like the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and the expansion of the Community Support Program can help those homeless individuals and help decrease the number.
The 2021 PiT-Count also found that sheltered numbers and rough sleepers were higher than past counts. While sheltered numbers only increased from 172 (2018) to 185 (2021), the number of unsheltered (rough sleepers) dramatically increased from 6 in 2018 to 71 in 2021.