Port Alberni will be taking part in a province-wide Homeless Count this week.
The province announced last month that it will co-ordinate homeless counts in up to 12 communities during March and April to help inform B.C.’s Homelessness Action Plan, which will focus on permanent housing and services.
The Homelessness Services Association of BC has been contracted to co-ordinate the provincial count and will partner with the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and Urban Matters to support communities and compile the results.
Port Alberni was selected as one of the communities participating in the provincially-funded count. The community has hosted a homeless count before, but not in partnership with the province.
Port Alberni’s homeless count will take place on the evening of April 10 and the day of April 11, according to coordinator Marcie DeWitt.
DeWitt says that for the purpose of the count, “homeless” includes people who do not have a place of their own where they can expect to stay for more than 30 days, and if they do not pay rent.
The day count will involve dropsites and “magnet events” in order to survey people at particular locations. One of these events is a Community Wellness Day at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will highlight some of the supports and services available in the community.
Homeless counts provide vital information, including the demographics and service needs of people experiencing homelessness. They also help establish a benchmark to measure the progress made to reduce homelessness over time. A provincial picture of homelessness will be developed based on the information gathered in these provincially funded counts.
You can register to volunteer with the Port Alberni count at hsa-bc.ca/research-resources/2018-homeless-count/preliminary-registration-port-alberni/