/Measuring regional homelessness

Measuring regional homelessness

This article is the third in a series on homelessness in Haliburton County leading up to an awareness event to be held throughout the county on March 1.

Homelessness Registry Week might be more than a year away but it’s never too early to raise awareness said homelessness system resource co-ordinator for the City of Kawartha Lakes and County of Haliburton Jocelyn Blazey.

The registry week which is a week long survey of people experiencing homelessness is part of the 20000 Homes Campaign.

It is a national change movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1 2020.

Although there have been 19999 housing move-ins reported as of Friday Feb. 15 the effort is continuing.

The campaign was inspired by the 100000 Homes and Built for Zero Campaigns but has been adapted to Canada.

“As part of that collaborative they were asking communities to conduct registry weeks in an effort to at least try and identify how many individuals you have in your community who are experiencing homelessness to figure out how many you need to support and house to figure out how far away we are to reach the 20000” Blazey said.

The CKL-H has completed two registries starting in 2016. They are one of 38 participating communities.

The next Homelessness Registry Week will be in 2020. It is expected to be held sometime between March and May ensuring there is a baseline for results since housing needs are different in the winter months compared to spring and summer.

T he decision to have a registry week every two years was based on the provincial mandate which outlined a community must perform an enumeration every two years starting in 2018.

Unlike other areas where they conduct a one-day survey known as a point in time count the Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton area surveys for a week to create a “by name list” to identify as many individuals as possible and obtain specific information on each individual surveyed.

“We know who the individual is by name and we then also know what our level of need in the community as a whole and so it creates an accountability to the system in the sense of we know your name and know this is what you need in terms of support so how can we support you?” she said.

Point in time counts take anonymous and generic information which doesn’t account for who the individual is and what their specific needs are.

“Since August 2016 we have added 206 individuals to the By Name List and 90 individuals from the BNL have found housing. There are currently 53 individuals still experiencing homelessness in the community who are being connected to supports and services” Blazey said in an email.

When asked about the effect of the 2018 registry week Blazey said it’s part of a larger process recently launched known as a co-ordinated entry system.

“So essentially what it is is we’re recognizing individuals who aren’t going to be homeless just for that one week where we do a registry week so we’re trying to build a system where it allows us to identify individuals experiencing … homelessness at any day at any time” she said. “So we’re building a co-ordinated entry system … we’ve worked with different community agencies so that individuals can [be] present there and be connected to the system and so we’ve seen some successes around implementing that system around the community. We’ve also been able to collaborate with different agencies.”

The overall approach by CKL-H ensures individuals with the greatest need will receive help first.

The sleeping in cars event takes place overnight on Friday March 1 to raise awareness of the homelessness issue. Visit www.placesforpeople.ca for more information.