Comox Valley to Participate in the 2018 Cross-Canada Point-in-Time Homeless Count
On March 7th, 2018, the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness (CVCEH), volunteers and local service agencies will once again conduct a Point in Time (PiT) Homeless Count as a coordinated effort to measure homelessness across Canada.
A Point-in-Time (PiT) Count is a strategy to help determine the extent and nature of homelessness in a community at a single point in time and represents a ‘snapshot’ of the minimum number of those who are homeless in the Valley.
The 2018 PiT survey includes core questions developed collaboratively by communities and the province of BC to ensure the data about demographics and service needs will be comparable across many communities. Trained volunteers will conduct interviews around the Comox Valley at various spots including shelters, transitional housing, public areas, service agencies, and at special events where resources, services, food and useful items will be provided for those identifying as being homeless
“The Coalition learned a lot after we conducted our first PiT Count in 2016. We surveyed a total of 157 people including 70 absolute homeless, and 87 hidden homeless, but there are more out there.’ says Andrea Cupelli, Coordinator of the CVCEH PiT Count. “We know there are many people in our community who don’t identify as being homeless, but who in fact are sleeping in their vehicles, camping, couch-surfing, or who simply don’t have a safe place to stay at night, and we want to make sure they are included in the count this year. People from all walks of life are being impacted by a lack of safe, affordable housing.”
A successful PiT Count allows our community to identify the needs of the local homeless population, enhance and measure progress in planning, partnership, and program development aimed at ending homelessness, and increases public awareness about homelessness. Results from the PiT Count will be made publicly available in the Fall of 2018.
This year the United Way is funding $1,000 for the purchase of $10 gift cards from Tim Hortons and other local businesses. The gift cards are a small gesture to help encourage the participation of people who are experiencing homelessness.
“This is a strategy that has proven successful in other locations and honors the people who help us gather vital data we can use to find permanent housing solutions,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director of United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island. “United Way has funded PiT Counts in Nanaimo, Duncan and the West Coast. We’re excited to share our knowledge and expertise with the Coalition in Comox Valley.”
The Coalition will be seeking volunteers and donations in the time leading up to the PiT Count. Volunteers will help conduct surveys and assist with events, while donations of useful items such as toiletries, warm socks, healthy food, gift cards and other giveaways, as well as onsite services such as dental care, veterinarians, haircuts, are appreciated for the PiT Count events.
Anyone interested in volunteering or providing donations for the Point in Time Count can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on volunteer opportunities and PiT Count events will be available at cvhousing.ca.