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

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

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

Lori Jantz snapped this picture of a fight between a bald eagle and an osprey above Osoyoos Lake on Friday. (Lori Jantz photo)
Battle in the sky erupts above South Okanagan lake

Bald eagle and osprey fight mid-air in Osoyoos

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

Royal LePage Arena was an addition to West Kelowna championed by Len Novakowski. (File photo)
West Kelowna community leader Novakowski dies

Former Westside regional district director Len Novakowski dies after lengthy health battle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read