Measuring regional homelessness
By Darren Lum
Published Feb. 19, 2019
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, which is a week long survey of people experiencing homelessness, is part of the 20,000 Homes Campaign.
It is a national change movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2020.
Although there have been 19,999 housing move-ins reported as of Friday, Feb. 15, the effort is continuing.
The campaign was inspired by the 100,000 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 20,000,” 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.
The decision to have a registry 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.
There were 208 names added to the CKL-H list established in August of 2016. There have been more than 90 move-ins. There are currently 53 individuals being connected.
Blazey made a point of saying they don’t track if the individuals they’ve helped have moved into housing as a result of the help they received, or if they found housing on their own.
When asked about the effect of the 2018 registry, 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.