Backgrounder: Point-in-Time Counts
The point-in-time (PiT) counts are coordinated with communities across Canada through the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).
A PiT count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to count individuals in a community who are, at a given time, staying in shelters or “sleeping rough” (e.g. on the street, in parks), providing a “snapshot” of homelessness in a community. PiT counts include a survey that can provide communities with information on the characteristics of their homeless population (e.g. age, gender, veteran status, Indigenous identity).
This information can be used by communities to direct resources to areas of greatest need, and to connect individuals to targeted supports to help them achieve stable housing. It can also be used to track changes in the homeless population over time and measure progress in reducing it.
In Quebec, the HPS is administered through a formal agreement that respects the jurisdiction and priorities of both governments in addressing homelessness.
In 2015, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) launched the 20,000 Homes Campaign. Communities that participate create a registry, or by-name list, of people experiencing homelessness and determine the severity of their needs in order to prioritize people for housing interventions.
The creation of this list typically begins with a registry week, when surveys are conducted with people experiencing homelessness to begin to evaluate the severity of their needs. Data collected from a registry week will allow communities to target supports and services that meet the needs of the individual, but also the community.
Homelessness Partnering Strategy
The HPS is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities in all provinces and territories, as well as to Indigenous, rural and remote communities across Canada, to help them address homelessness.
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