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Provincial report notes drop in ‘homeless cohort count’ in Central Kootenay

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
January 2nd, 2024

A recent report from the province suggests that the year-over-year percent change in the homeless cohort count is dropping the greatest in the Central Kootenay than anywhere else in B.C.

According to the recently released Report: 2021 Estimate of the Homeless Population in British Columbia, the BC Housing report showed that there was a drop of 32 per cent in the homeless “cohort” count in the central Kootenay region (2019-2021).

That drop represented a reduction of 190 people throughout the Central Kootenay census division, the latest statistics compiled and released by the Province on region-by-region homelessness.

Although the rest of the province’s homeless population has remained relatively stable, the southeast had the greatest percentage decrease in homeless, but was sandwiched between two of the greatest regional increases in homeless, with Kootenay-Boundary (189 per cent increase) and East Kootenay (169 per cent increase) leading the way.

To date, the project has generated estimates of the population of individuals living in British Columbia who experienced homelessness in 2019, 2020, and 2021, with data not yet compiled for the last year (2022).

Homelessness is often cyclical in nature and remaining stably housed can take several attempts, the report introduction noted.

“It is hoped that by uncovering population-level patterns and trends, better interventions can be designed to prevent and address homelessness and support individuals to remain stably housed,” it read.

 

 

By the numbers

The Preventing and Reducing Homelessness Integrated Data Project aimed to understand, respond and prevent homelessness in B.C. using “de-identified provincial administrative data to get a more complete picture of who is experiencing homelessness.”

In 2021, 26,240 individuals were estimated to have experienced homelessness in the province, with men (aged 25 to 54) making up 48 per cent of the total population estimated to have experienced homelessness in 2021.

Of individuals estimated to have experienced homelessness in 2021, slightly more people are estimated to have experienced chronic homelessness (55 per cent) than non-chronic homelessness (45 per cent).

 

Note

For the purpose of the project, an individual is considered to have experienced homelessness if at minimum they have:

  • spent three consecutive months on social assistance with no fixed address;
  • stayed one night in a BC Housing-affiliated shelter; or
  • had both experiences.

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