The District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board is preparing for its biannual homelessness count.
The one-day count is scheduled to be carried out Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Tammy MacKenzie, the chief administrative officer of the Parry Sound DSSAB, says homelessness is occurring in the district and is often invisible.
“Someone does not need to be sleeping on a sidewalk to be experiencing homelessness,” MacKenzie said.
MacKenzie adds this makes the job of identifying people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless more difficult.
The DSSAB says the homelessness count is a confidential and voluntary survey.
The data that's collected allows it and other agencies “to respond more effectively to the issue of homelessness in the district.”
Not only does the data help raise more public awareness that homelessness is an issue, the DSSAB is able to use the information to lobby for policy changes involving all levels of government and also to apply for more grants and program funds.
The DSSAB is encouraging people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to contact it at 1-800-461-4464 ext. 5209.
It's also reaching out to the various Ontario Provincial Police detachments in the district, food banks and the Canadian Mental Health Association to help identify people who may fall into the homelessness category.
The count will be carried out using a Point-in-Time procedure, which tallies the number of people experiencing homelessness on one single night, in addition to basic demographics.
The DSSAB also wants to create a list of people with no place to call home so that it can help them with housing options and support services.
The DSSAB expects to finalize this list of people in need of housing by the end of the year.
The homelessness survey count is intended for families and individuals.
The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board will hold its Point-in-Time count and voluntary survey Wednesday, Oct. 13. Two registry days will take place Oct. 14 and 15 to allow individuals not counted to complete a survey and have their information added to the By-Name List.
“The By-Name List is a tool that will assist our service providers to more effectively work together to care for vulnerable community members,” AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area community development coordinator Emmi Lunel said in a statement.
“As importantly, this coordinated community care approach will assist us in ensuring that our vulnerable populations do not fall through the cracks of service provision.”
- Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.