Point in Time Count indicates homelessness on rise in Comox Valley

BC Housing has released preliminary data from the 2020 homeless count for the Comox Valley, conducted March 11 by the CV Coalition to End Homelessness. It was the third Point in Time Homeless Count conducted locally.

Preliminary results indicate there is a 13 per cent increase in homelessness from 2018, with 132 individuals experiencing homelessness on the day of the PiT Count.

Coalition co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said the organization is disheartened by the data, noting The Junction supportive housing complex had yet to be built in 2018.

“Meaning that since then, even with 46 of our community’s most vulnerable members being safely housed, it has simply not filled the gap,” she said.

Cupelli said homeless counts provide snapshots of what homelessness looks like in a community, and do not enumerate others who are unhoused who did not take the survey.

“We have seen these numbers reflected in the many streams of work the coalition has been doing to protect those who are unhoused during the pandemic. The demand for safe, affordable, supportive housing continues to grow, and the overall demand for housing affordability will also likely grow during these unstable pandemic times.”

In the fall, BC Housing will release a full 2020 Homeless Count report, including demographic breakdowns to paint a picture on who is experiencing homelessness in the Valley, and why.

“In the meantime, we hope that however disappointing this preliminary homeless count data is, it pushes us all to continue to advocate provincially to provide housing for the growing numbers of people in our community who need it,” Cupelli said.

Combining the latest information with data and findings of a Regional Housing Needs Assessment Report helps the coalition to advocate and plan further for what is needed across the housing continuum in the Comox Valley.

“We are proud to work alongside our municipal governments on housing and we look forward to further action to ensure that the numbers of individuals experiencing homelessness declines in the future,” Cupelli said.

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