BCNPHA is Gearing Up for the 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver

March 7, 2017

Our staff, together with external volunteers, have been busy the past few weeks preparing for the 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver.

The count of sheltered and street individuals is taking place tonight through tomorrow at hundreds of locations throughout the region. There will be a special emphasis on known hotspots, but for the first time in Canada, the count will also focus on rural areas and waterways. Over 1,200 volunteers and staff from partner organizations have committed to help gather the data so that we can help find solutions to eliminate homelessness in our communities.

To ensure data quality remains at a high standard, many training sessions have been taking place all over the lower mainland so that volunteers are prepared in advance.

“Our volunteers are the researchers out in the field – they are the faces of the Homeless Count,” says Peer-Daniel Krause, BCNPHA Policy Manager who has been working behind the scenes. “We go through safety procedures and survey instruments. The better they are trained, the better the data will be.”

Safety and comfort during the count is key, and volunteers have been advised and trained on having respectful, compassionate interactions with people living on the street.

“To have that icebreaker and build trust, we’ve included cigarettes and candies in the packages,” says Krause, who emphasizes that handing out these valuable items are the tools for a volunteer to establish a connection.

Volunteers will fan out across the region to conduct brief anonymous surveys on predetermined routes, and data collected will help determine future policies and services for homeless populations.

This ambitious research project is only possible through the incredible efforts of our volunteers who freely give their time to interact with Metro Vancouver’s most vulnerable populations.

Stay tuned for the preliminary results next month! For further details on the homeless count, read more here.


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