Everyone Counts: Homelessness Partnering Strategy Coordinated Point-in-Time Count

The Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy 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. The HPS Guide to Point-in-Time Counts in Canada describes how to participate in the coordinated count, including the standards of participation, the common methodology and guidance on implementing a count.

The first Canadian coordinated homeless count

Between January 1 and April 30, 2016, 32 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.

Participating communities used a common set of survey questions to better understand homelessness at a local level, while also contributing to the understanding of homelessness across Canada. An analysis of the results of these surveys can be found in the report: Highlights – 2016 Coordinated Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness in Canadian Communities.

The second Canadian coordinated homeless count

Everyone Counts 2018, the second HPS Coordinated Point-in-Time Count, will be held in March and April 2018 to continue to help communities measure their progress in reducing homelessness. The second count strengthens the focus on engaging homeless youth and Indigenous populations.

All HPS designated communities are encouraged to participate in the 2018 Coordinated PiT Count. For communities that participated in the 2016 count, it will provide a second data point to measure progress in reducing homelessness. The 2018 count is also an opportunity for more communities to take part in this initiative and contribute to the understanding of homelessness in Canada.

Communities can also choose to implement a joint PiT count and Registry Week, which helps the community to create a by-name list of individuals experiencing homelessness. This list can be used to link individuals to housing supports as part of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness 20,000 Homes Campaign.

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. Tools are also available for other communities that wish to conduct a count.

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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