BY ROBYN MOVOLD
In the spring of 2020, the province provided funding to conduct homeless counts in 16 B.C. communities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only eight of the 16 communities were able to conduct their counts before March 17, 2020, when British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency.
The remaining eight communities, which included the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, completed their counts in 2021 with additional pandemic precautions.
The Homelessness Services Association of B.C., with support from B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association and Urban Matters, co-ordinated these counts and prepared this report. Data from the count communities constitutes a benchmark to measure progress made to reduce homelessness over time.
For 24 hours, the point-in-time homelessness count took place covering the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
It began the afternoon of April 26 and continuing through out the day of April 27.
Members of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness went with surveys in hand covering the expansive area from Nanoose to Bowser and all communities in between.
A total of 87 individuals were identified as experiencing homelessness during the count, whereas the 2018 homeless count identified 42 individuals. The point-in-time homeless counts provide a snapshot of people experiencing homelessness in a 24-hour period, their demographic characteristics, service use and other information.
For the purpose of counts, an individual was defined as experiencing homelessness if they did not have a place of their own where they paid rent and could expect to stay for at least 30 days.
In areas where surveys are not possible, additional data was collected from shelter operators, hospitals, jails and B.C. Housing.
Point-in-time counts are an undercount and represent only those individuals identified during a 24-hour period, and not everyone experiencing homelessness can be found and not everyone who is found consents to be surveyed.
While point-in-time counts are an accepted methodological tool, the numbers are understood to be the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness on a given day in that community.
Robyn Movold is the co-ordinator of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, Society of Organized Services.