Point-in-Time Homeless Count Supports the Need for More Resources

Every two years, over 60 cities across Canada participate in a National Point-in-Time Count to gather information and data about those affected by homelessness in our community.

“Every single person in Canada has the right to have a place to call home. Unfortunately, things are only getting worse in cities like Nanaimo, with the number people facing homelessness doubling in the last three years,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director, UWCNVI. “The data we gather through the Count supports our case to senior levels of government for further investments in affordable housing and the care for substance use and mental health that our community needs.”

The Point-in-Time Count is essential to understanding how residents are falling into homelessness and what their needs are. The Count also helps direct where further resources and services are needed to support those living on the street. The survey will assess a number of factors relating to homelessness and will provide a snapshot of the minimum number of people who are homeless in Nanaimo. 

“This event serves as a critical part of our community response to the crisis and as a means of measuring the progress of current homeless reduction strategies,” says Madden. “We’ll receive key data on gender, age and ethnicity to better understand the needs and circumstances of the people who are affected by homelessness in our community.”

United Way invests in important research like the Point-in-time count to better understand how the systems in place can be improved. The information received will help us bring together key stakeholders who can influence community development.


Upcoming Homeless Counts

On March 12, 2020, led by United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition, and Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, trained volunteers will survey individuals staying in shelters, short-term housing and sleeping rough on the streets in Nanaimo. For more information on the PIT Count in Nanaimo, volunteer opportunities and donations, click here

Comox Valley – March 11

Cowichan - March 12

Campbell River – April 15

Information on how to volunteer in other communities, here.


Health & Housing TaskForce

Tackling the root causes of homelessness requires intervention at all levels. Without financial investment and resources from all levels of government and the support of the many non-profit organizations on the ground, solving this issue would be impossible.

As part of the City’s Council led Health & Housing TaskForce, the data from the count will be used to update the current strategies so they better address the changing climate of the homelessness crisis. The TaskForce is currently undertaking a stakeholder analysis to identify gaps and make a clear ask for further funding and resources.

This process will also lead to a Coordinated Access System for Nanaimo. Coordinated access will provide vulnerable residents with a centralized place to seek help, while also streamlining internal processes to save time and resources.