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Point in Time survey to examine homelessness in Greater Victoria for first time since 2020

The last Point in Time Homeless survey in Victoria was conducted in March 2020. The last Point in Time Homeless survey in Victoria was conducted in March 2020.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Vancouver Island outreach groups are trying to get a clear picture of what homelessness looks like across the Capital Region.

The Point in Time Homeless survey is a national initiative that takes place every couple of years.

It’s aimed at understanding the issues and challenges faced by members of the unhoused community.

"Last count, for example, we found that 30 per cent were Indigenous, so we know there’s overrepresentation of people who are Indigenous, people who are 2SLGBTQS+," said Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria.

"We are seeing an aging demographic, so we can look at gender, age, youth demographics, things like that," she said.

Findings will be documented so that outreach organizations can better understand the needs of community members, apply for grants and allocate services.

"Service providers use it to identify where their funding needs are or to advocate for funding or for better targeting of existing funding," said Gibson.

"What we saw last time was a significant number of people experiencing homelessness in Sooke, for example, and we were able to bring some resources to Sooke to help intervene there," she said.

POST-PANDEMIC SURVEY

It’s now been three years since the last survey, which was recorded before the pandemic, and there are a number of new factors that could influence this year's figures.

"The housing crisis has changed, cost of living has changed, there are significant challenges through the pandemic and post-pandemic for households," said Gibson.

"Despite a lot of interventions like the rent bank and other programs in the region, we’re not sure what that looks like on the ground and in the community."

The Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria is looking for help with this year’s survey, which will see teams of volunteers hit the streets and visit organizations to speak with people about their experiences with homelessness.

"If you’re not comfortable being out on the street you can work at our headquarters and help with serving food to volunteers and collecting surveys when they come back," said Gibson.

The survey takes place on March 7 and 8.

If you are interested in volunteering you can register on the Community Social Planning Council’s website or at Volunteer Victoria.

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