FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Province will coordinate homeless counts in up to 12 communities around B.C. including here in Fort St. John.
The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society announced earlier this month; they would take on coordinate Fort St. John’s first-ever homeless count.
Homeless counts provide vital information, including the demographics and service needs of people experiencing homelessness. They also help establish a benchmark to measure the progress made to reduce homelessness over time. Staff from the Women’s Resource Society also appeared before Fort St. John City Council Monday to talk more about the plan and how the community can help.
The homeless count will occur over a span of 24 hours, beginning the night before April 18th and will include counts in shelters, RCMP holding cells, hospitals, and other known places where at-risk individuals stay overnight. During the day, the same procedure will occur; with mechanisms in place to avoid duplicating persons who have been counted already.
Each person that is counted will be asked to complete a survey about their living situation to highlight needs for at-risk individuals, which can give feedback on potential future funding to help combat homelessness. The survey’s full results should be publicly available several months after the count is completed.
The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society is currently searching for volunteers to help with this year’s homeless count. Each volunteer must be available the day of the count, and for a training session that is taking place the evening of Tuesday, April 10th. A survey has been created to identify the commitments of each volunteer best and can be found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSJ2018.
The Province is investing $550,000 to fund the counts in the 12 communities and plans to report on the preliminary results by early summer. The Homelessness Action Plan is expected to be released later this year.