A man adjusts his toque in the rain outside of the Gospel Mission. The colder weather has arrived in Kelowna and homeless shelters are operating at full capacity. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna homelessness count shows more people without shelter

Central Okanagan Foundation point-in-time survey shows hundreds without homes in Kelowna

Kelowna’s housing troubles are in focus this week, with the release of the Central Okanagan Foundation’s point-in-time homelessness count.

During a March 6 survey, volunteers counted 286 men and women experiencing homelessness, which is a 23 per cent increase from the last survey in 2016.

For the most recent count, 234 people were staying in a homeless shelter, while 52 individuals were experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

An additional 264 individuals were living in interim housing and 55 more were in institutional care.

And the length of a typical homeless person’s stay in a shelter has increased from 192 days to 241 days, or about eight months, from 192 days in 2016.

Top reasons for homelessness, according to the report, are addiction issues, household conflict, illness or a medical condition, job loss, and being unable to afford rental rates.

The bulk of the homeless population was male, with 68 per cent being men, 31 per cent women, one per cent transgender. Two per cent of the homeless were immigrants or refugees that had moved to Canada in the previous five years, while Indigenous people, which make up less than six per cent of Kelowna’s total population, accounted for one-quarter of its homeless population.

Volunteer teams were armed with a survey the night of the count and a total of 193 were completed, including 118 sheltered homeless and 14 unsheltered homeless, representing a response rate of 50 per cent of the sheltered homeless population and 27 per cent of the identified unsheltered homeless population.

“The two primary purposes of the Kelowna PiT Count are to first provide an enumeration, or count, of people experiencing absolute homelessness, and secomd through a survey, provide information on the characteristics of the homeless population,” reads the report from the Central Okanagan Foundation.

READ MORE: HIGHLY MOTIVATED TO END HOMELESSNESS

The PiT Count, which was conducted in 61 communities, provides vital information to participating communities about their homeless population, and contribute to the understanding of homelessness in Canada.

“Once again this year, I would like to thank the Central Okanagan Foundation, in the role of the Community Entity, for carrying out the Kelowna Point-in-Time (PiT) Count, a national coordinated effort led by the Government of Canada to measure homelessness in Canada,” said Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.

“Understanding the factors that result in homelessness will help us focus on prevention efforts and find permanent, supportive solutions for people experiencing homelessness in our community.”

These findings may act as a continued benchmark to track changes in the homeless population over time and will allow us to measure progress towards our ultimate goal: ending homelessness in Kelowna.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan Symphony maestro joins KSS Music Showcase

OSO music direcor Rosemary Thomsom will MC the upcoming display of Okanagan music talent

Inaugural Barrels & Berms SBX World Cup continues at Big White

The snowboard cross event brings in Canadian and national stars

Rockets get healthy, snap streak with 3-2 win over T-Birds

Kelowna looks for more wins Saturday with the first of back-to-back games with Giants

Language course helps to revitalize Okanagan First Nation language

“Learning a Language: nsyilxcən for Everyone” course kicks off in Kelowna on Feb. 4

Peachland looks to hire climate action coordinator

Coordinator would help city reach its carbon reduction goals

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Pioneer families lived in Summerland’s Prairie Valley area

Darke and Dale families played roles in community’s early history

Princeton RCMP make quick arrest in armed robbery after ‘brief struggle’

Princeton RCMP have arrested a suspect in connection with an armed robbery… Continue reading

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Animal lovers cautioned against feeding urban deer – even if they beg at the window

Even if the deer press their little faces against your kitchen window… Continue reading

Most Read