Counting the number of people experiencing homelessness in Sudbury
SUDBURY -- class="p1"> Greater Sudbury will be conducting a homelessness count on March 24.
Not only does this count help the federal government understand the population across the country, but it also helps the city.
It offers a better idea of just how many people are in need of shelter.
"It helps us to understand who is experiencing homelessness right now in our community; the demographics, the reason for homelessness, how long people have been homeless, and it really helps us to allocate our resources, reduce barriers, make sure that our services are geared to the right people," said Gail Spencer, the coordinator of shelters and homelessness for the City of Greater Sudbury.
The last enumeration took place in 2018, only on a much larger scale.
Spencer says the city realized what changes had to be made after receiving the 2018 results.
"We learned that 42 per cent of the people experiencing homelessness identified as Indigenous on the street, but only about 30 per cent were using our shelter. Which made us aware that maybe our shelters weren't as safe, welcoming, or accessible to Indigenous people. So, since then, we have done a lot of work to make sure that our shelters, our staff, are really connecting to our Indigenous-led housing services." said Spencer.
The shelter coordinator said this year, the federal government is asking all involved to only count the number of people staying at a shelter, transitional home, or on the streets.
For this year's count, the city will have help from the homelessness service providers, including the Homelessness Network.
"It gives us a baseline about how many services we need and the kind of services persons out there would best be served by. So, with knowing that and meeting people on the streets, there is also an offer of service that can be made while surveyors are out there," said Raymond Landry, with the Homelessness Network.
The results are expected to be submitted at some point during the summer.
After that, Spencer said the city will analyze the data and make sure it is administering programs in the most effective way.