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October 27, 2017 10:01 pm

Homeless Count Could Help Shape Services and Housing Strategy

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 @ 11:50 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The  data from the Point in Time  homeless count  is in.Prince George took part in a nationally coordinated  effort to measure homelessness in Canada.   The count was taken on  April 18th  and  205 people were surveyed, providing a snapshot of what homelessness looks like in Prince George.

Of those surveyed,  21% had spent the  night  outdoors,  while  35%   said  they had spent the night in an emergency shelter.  The balance had spent the  night  either at a friends home,  a hotel,  or  jail.

The vast majority of the homeless  had some Aboriginal ancestry (69%),  and 5% had served in the  Canadian Military or the  RCMP.

Nearly one third (28.2%) said they had moved to Prince George in the past year, most from  Northern B.C. but  there were  at least 10 who identified the lower mainland  as their  previous home.

The most  often  cited reason for  first becoming homeless was an issue with family , such as  family breakdown, conflict or violence (42%).  “That  was a bit of a surprise to us” says PiT Coordinator Kerry Pateman, “Family conflict and family violence was the number one reason.”  Addiction,  (either to  substance abuse or gambling)  was cited  by 22%  as a reason for becoming  homeless,  income issues  were  noted by 22% as a reason they  have become homeless.

Pateman,  says  the numbers   of people  on the streets was  not  surprising, “We had actually  surveyed more than  205 people in 2010, but I think more people were screened out (this time) because they did have a permanent home to go to at the end of the day.”

The results have just been presented to the Community Partnership Addressing Homelessness says Pateman,  “I think what this is going to  do is  help other various groups  that  are doing things.  It’s really providing  us with some information on which we can do more research or see  where we might need services.  If family breakdown is the number one reason  for people becoming homeless, do we have enough services for that area?”

Some of the respondents  did indicate  services which  they said they needed in Prince George, and the one most often cited, was  addiction or substance abuse.

90% of those surveyed said they do want to  get into permanent housing.

The information gathered  in Prince George and other communities across the country will go a long way  towards  helping the Federal Government  understanding the  issue of homelessness and  develop a housing strategy says Pateman. “Under the homelessness  Partnering Strategy, over the next coupe of years, they’re doing  consultations with  communities on a national strategy.”

Here are some other highlights of the survey:

  • the median age that respondents first became homeless was  30
  • 62% said the main challenge  facing them in finding housing was  income  related
  • 44% of respondents were female
  • 56% of respondents were male. (That’s a drop from previous counts  in Prince George when 64% were male)
  • 41% had previously been in foster care or  group homes.




Now that the results are in I am looking forward to seeing how we can come together to make Prince George a better community. We can’t do that without recognizing that we need a community plan that includes both a social plan and a business plan. So Prince George lets move forward…

here’s a thought – city takes connaught inn and the willow inn, combine with the empty lot in the middle. turn both motels into social housing with the office and restaurant of the connaught serving as an administration building. gate the whole property. residents must pass through admin building to get to their suites. if under the influence more than x amount of times they are evicted.

    Once evicted they are once again homeless.

    Sounds expensive.

Sounds expensive—so does Site C.

There will always be homeless people as some chose this lifestyle.

    They chose to be homeless? Don’t think so. You must be joking?

Peter North, nobody chooses to be homeless. What an ignorant comment. You got to be kidding man. I for one am not happy with prices of homes in this province. A government that won’t admit to foreigners buying property that don’t even live here are wrong. It’s no lifestyle that brings people to homelessness. How dare you say that! I want people to front their names on this site Mrs. Elaine Macdonald-Meisner. It’s not right people can just make ignorant comments like this and just get away with not fronting their names!

    “I want people to front their names on this site”


    I believe he is correct. I remember seeing a documentary on the CBC a few years back where they profiled several homeless people and one gentlemen in particular sticks in my memory. He was a former engineer who claimed to have a 6 figure bank account but he preferred life on the streets.

    Mental illness had a lot to do with his choice but it was still his choice.

    As for house prices making you unhappy? Too bad. I’d prefer to see my investment increase in value as I get older and not to be artificially deflated to suit some politician’s whim.

Have a chat with the town admin in Lethbridge, they have eliminated homelessness there.

OR, find out what they do in Niagra Falls, never saw a singe street person while we were vacationing there. Maybe they ship them all west?

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