Homeless Count Could Help Shape Services and Housing Strategy
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—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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