More than just a number

Homelessness exists in York Region, and the results of the first province-wide count of homelessness reveal at least 389 people as experiencing homelessness in the region.

During a four-day period in April 2018, York Region mobilized citizen volunteers, community organizations and staff to conduct a homeless count called I Count – I’m not just a number. Results from the count are intended to serve as a snapshot and reflect the minimum number of people who are experiencing homelessness in York Region.

“For most residents, York Region is a vibrant and prosperous place to live and work. Unfortunately for some, being homeless or at risk of homelessness is a daily reality that we want to change,” said York Region chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “The I Count survey was an opportunity to find people in our communities who are experiencing homelessness and better understand why. This information will help to shed light on the needs and barriers facing residents and target services even more appropriately.”

Results of the count revealed there is no ‘typical’ profile of someone experiencing homelessness. People surveyed ranged in age, household composition, income and reasons why they become homeless.

York Region is required by the Ontario government to count the number of people experiencing homelessness within the region every two years. This was the first homeless count the region has led. A previous homeless count was completed in 2016 by United Way Greater Toronto.

The region’s approach to homelessness focuses on prevention, housing stability and wraparound programs. These strategies and services keep residents at-risk of homelessness housed, and help people experiencing homelessness become permanently housed, as quickly as possible.

Findings from the region’s I Count study are informing investments in program delivery and actions in the updates of York Region’s 10-Year Housing Plan: Housing Solutions: A place for everyone.

To read the full report and find out more about I Count, visit york.ca/icount

Photo: Being homeless or at risk of homelessness in York Region is a daily reality for hundreds of people

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