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Nelson to Participate in the First Cross-Canada Coordinated Point-in-Time Homeless Count

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
March 9th, 2016

The homeless in Nelson are going to be counted.

On April 12th-13th the Nelson Committee on Homelessness (NCOH), in partnership with dozens of non-profit and public services and community volunteers will conduct Nelson’s first ever Point-in-Time (PiT) Homeless Count.

A Point-In-Time (PiT) Count, part of a cross Canada study from January to April of 2016 to measure homelessness in communities, is a voluntary survey conducted over a 24-hour period to gather information about the extent and nature of homelessness in Nelson.
“It involves more than simply counting people,” said Ann Harvey, Nelson’s Pit Count Coordinator in a media release.

“The methodology is designed to increase our understanding of  the demographics of who is experiencing permanent and cyclical homelessness and those living in unsafe or provisional housing situations in Nelson, and what they identify as their service and housing needs. “
Harvey said during the 24hour period, trained volunteers will count and survey individuals who are staying in shelters and short-term housing and sleeping rough (without shelter). 

As well, “public systems” will be counted; places like regional detention centres, safe homes and hospitals will be asked to provide an “administrative count” on any Nelsonite staying there in that 24 hour time-frame who have no fixed address to return to.
Harvey said the PiT Count will provide a “snapshot” of homelessness in Nelson. It will indicate the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in our community.  Other forms of homelessness, such as people couch surfing – staying temporarily with friends or acquaintances – will also be surveyed, with a focus on youth.
Voices of homeless people need to be heard
“It is an opportunity for people who are experiencing homelessness or who are in a precarious or unsafe housing situation to make their voice heard,” Harvey explained.

 “We need to hear from them to better document and more clearly present the facts that there are real people with real needs and issues that have to be addressed.”
Harvey stressed that the surveys are anonymous and voluntary.
“Findings from the PiT Count Surveys will shed a light on the housing and service needs specific to Nelson,” said Harvey.
“The PiT Count Survey will provide information to aid community organizations, funders and all levels of government to plan for the funding and service needs of homeless and at-risk persons,” said NCOH Co-Chair Cheryl Dowden, Executive Director of ANKORS.

“If done in future years, it can also tell us how successful we have been in addressing homelessness.”
“As a service provider, it is important that we understand not just the extent of homelessness but who is experiencing homelessness. This Point-in-Time Count will help our agency to plan effectively and improve our response to those in need,” said Jenny Robinson, Executive Director of Nelson CARES.
And NCOH has an appeal to Nelsonites. 

“For a Homeless Count to be successful,” states Harvey, “the support and cooperation of many people in many organizations will be required.  So if, in your work, you encounter people who may be homeless and you are interested in participating in a count, or if you are just interested in learning more about homelessness or Homeless Counts, please join us to learn more.”
The Nelson PiT Count Coordinator can be reached at or 352-6011 x19.  A website with information on the Point in Time Count and how to volunteer is also being developed at
The survey results will be shared federally through a national Point In Time Count data base and analysed locally to present a report back to the community with statistics and compiled information.  A national report will also be forthcoming.
The Nelson PiT Count has received support from Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (Employment and Social Development Canada).

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