Most of Campbell River’s homeless started as youth. File photo

Most of Campbell River’s homeless started as youth. File photo

Campbell River’s Point in Time homelessness count to take place in April

2021 saw 43 per cent increase over 2018

The Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness (CRDCEH) is gearing up for this year’s Point in Time (PiT) count.

Every two years, support from the province and the Homelessness Services Association of B.C. (HSABC) allows the coalition to undertake a count of people experiencing homelessness and who are unconventionally housed.

“While PiT Counts are sometimes called ‘homeless counts,’ they are so much more than that,” said a CRDCEH newsletter announcing this year’s upcoming count.

PiT counts help give a snapshot of the housing situation in a given community. The goal is to count as many people in a 24 hour period who may have unique living situations including not paying rent or other housing costs. These may include staying with friends and couch surfing, staying in vehicles or RVs, camping, sleeping unsheltered or staying in shelters or short-term transitional housing.

“PiT Counts don’t do a good job of finding everyone in a community who is struggling to find housing…and that’s not the intention,” the newsletter says. “Rather, the intention is to track changes over time, notice demographics, the types of living situations that are most common, and other key challenges that people who live this way may face.”

The data is used by the province to understand what is happening on the ground in communities. It can also help guide responses and funding to areas that need it most. Agencies use this data in funding applications and advocacy for certain programs.

In 2021, the last time the count was undertaken in Campbell River, 116 people were identified as experiencing homelessness. That number was up since 2018, when 81 people were counted. Just over half of those people were couch surfing at the time of the count, and 15 per cent were living outside.

The majority had first experienced homelessness as a youth, and 45 per cent were in foster care or under another youth agreement. The vast majority had been in the community for at least a year, and 45 per cent had been residents of Campbell River for ten years or more.

People with health concerns, mental health and addictions issues were also high. Just over 60 per cent identified as Indigenous (compared to 12 per cent of the general population according to the 2016 census). Also, almost 90 per cent said they had some source of income.

The count will take place on April 26.

RELATED: Point in Time homelessness count scheduled for Campbell River

First Campbell River homelessness count in three years sees 43 per cent increase

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