A survey of people experiencing homelessness in the City of Peterborough
Today at Brock Mission, the United Way of Peterborough and District released the 2021 Point-in-Time Count. CEO Jim Russell explained that this is a one-day enumeration of homeless people in Peterborough with the goal of “understanding the complexities and intersecting issues that cause someone to end up homeless.”
For a period of 24 hours, starting at 10:00AM on December 9th, 50 volunteers covered predetermined areas where homeless people are known to sleep rough. 204 people were approached and 176 took part in the full survey.
The last Point-in-Time Count was conducted in 2018 and there are significant increases in a number of areas. Some of these increases and other key findings are:
- Living rough, or sleeping outdoors, has increased by 350% since the last PiT Count (2018)
- 78% of respondents indicated that they have a substance use concern, which is 32% higher than in 2018
- Chronic homelessness has increased by 45% since the last PiT Count (2018). 71% of all respondents were experiencing chronic homelessness, which is 6 or more months homeless within the last year
- 27% of survey respondents identified as Indigenous
- Approximately 1 in 5 respondents didn’t know where they were going to sleep the night of the PiT Count
- 96% of respondents indicated that they have at least one form of income
The full survey report can be found HERE
The following community leaders joined Jim Russell to share their reactions on the report:
• Kerri Kightley, 2021 PiT Coordinator, United Way Peterborough and District
• Will Pearson, Manager of Research for Social Change Lab, Trent University
• Dorothy Olver, Program Manager of Social Services, City of Peterborough
• Christian Harvey, Executive Director, One City Peterborough
• Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer and CEO, Peterborough Public Health
Manager of Community Impact, Betsy Farrar, highlighted a number of recommendations based on the findings of the survey, including:
• Deep investments in affordable housing from all levels of government are needed. Investments across the affordable continuum, and housing purpose built for people exiting homelessness.
• Connect with Indigenous communities to understand how to best invest funding to reduce Indigenous homelessness.
• Conduct ongoing evaluations of the homelessness system to understand Peterborough’s progress on actualizing housing as a human right within current socio-economic contexts. Assess our community’s fidelity to the Coordinated Access model as part of evaluating our progress.
• Develop and implement data practices around understanding prevalence and causes of deaths among people experiencing homelessness. Incorporate preventing death into Peterborough’s response to homelessness.