Homelessness Partnering Strategy Coordinated Canadian Point-in-Time Counts

The Government of Canada supported the first homeless count coordinated among communities across Canada in 2016. A common Point-in-Time (PiT) count approach was developed in consultation with communities that have experience using this method.

When communities conduct counts at the same time of year using a common approach, the results can be used to build a better understanding of homelessness in Canada. More information on the common approach can be found in the HPS Guide to Point-in-Time Counts in Canada.

The first Canadian coordinated homeless count

Between January 1 and April 30, 2016, 31 Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) Designated Communities participated in the first coordinated PiT count. Participating communities received a package of supports, including additional funding, training, and an implementation toolkit to facilitate participation in the 2016 PiT Count.

The second Canadian coordinated homeless count

A second nationally coordinated PiT count will be held in 2018 to continue to help communities measure their progress in reducing homelessness.

The second count will strengthen the focus on engaging homeless youth and Indigenous populations. The 2018 count will provide an opportunity for more communities to participate and will provide a second data point for communities that participated in the 2016 count to measure progress in reducing homelessness.

All of the Designated Communities in the Homelessness Partnering Strategy will be encouraged to participate in the 2018 Coordinated Point-in-Time Count. The launch of a formal invitation to communities to participate in the 2018 PiT Count will take place after the release of the 2016 summary report in the fall to provide communities with sufficient time to prepare for the count

More information on the PiT count

The PiT count method

A PiT Count is a method used to measure sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. It aims to enumerate 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 with specific backgrounds to targeted supports to help them achieve stable housing. When completed on subsequent years, it can also be used to track changes in the homeless population over time and measure progress in reducing it.

Community Participation

Designated Communities of the HPS are encouraged to participate in the Coordinated PiT counts.

Coordination of the PiT count

When communities conduct counts at the same time of year using a common approach, the results can be used to build a better understanding of homelessness across communities in Canada. Core elements of the method such as survey questions have been standardized, leaving flexibility for communities to build on the approach, and adapt it to their local context.

Supports for designated communities

A package of supports has been provided to facilitate the implementation of the coordinated approach. These supports include standard survey questions, planning and communication tools, and surveyor training tools. They can be found in the following locations:

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