FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The first-ever count of Fort St. John’s homeless population will be conducted this April, and is being done in coordination with the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society.
The Society will be conducting the survey alongside Homelessness Services Association of BC. Fort St. John is one of twelve communities across B.C. that will participate in the province-wide count. Williams Lake, Prince Rupert, and Smithers are the three other Northern B.C. communities conducting a homeless count, which occurs between March 1st and April 30th. The provincial government’s role in the count is to ensure that the point-in-time methodology is being used consistently in the communities undergoing the count.
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 best identify the commitments of each volunteer, and can be found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSJ2018.
For more information about the homeless count or how to volunteer, contact coordinator Phallon Stoutenburg at 250-787-1121 or by email at: [email protected].