How many homeless people are there in Sudbury?
Every three years, cities are mandated by the federal and provincial governments to count their homeless population.
This week in Sudbury, a count was done and vulnerable people were asked to voluntarily fill out surveys.
Officials admitted getting an accurate count is not easy, but said it worked with various agencies that have regular contact with the homeless.
“There is two parts of the enumeration. One is actually counting the number of people who are experiencing homelessness at that time,” said Gail Spencer, coordinator of shelters and homelessness with Greater Sudbury.
“And the second is asking people to participate in a survey where we ask them a series of questions that take about 10 minutes.”
The results of the count and information from the surveys are expected to be compiled and presented to city council in mid-November.
“We just can’t take people and house them without providing the proper supports that are going to be needed, which might be addiction counselling, might be mental health, might be medical. There is a number of issues that we have to address,” said Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc.
The city said the information also helps with funding allocations.
“We’ll definitely also be providing all the information up to the federal and provincial government for their data," Spencer said.
"So that they can understand the situation here in Sudbury and across Canada, so that they use that to determine funding allocations to communities.”
Spencer said right now, more people are living unsheltered in Sudbury.
“I think that during this COVID pandemic we are seeing a real change and shift in numbers of homeless population, particularly more people living unsheltered outdoors," she said.
"I expect that a couple of years ago we probably had more people couch surfing.”
Spencer said homeless people who responded to the survey questions were very open about sharing their personal information in order to improve funding and services.