Fraser Fyfe-Wilson and Diana Gibson believe the Point in Time Count will help bring awareness to the issue of homelessness in Victoria. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Greater Victoria homelessness count only sees ‘tip of the iceberg’

The count aims to identify driving forces, gaps in services and raise awareness

More than 170 volunteers throughout Greater Victoria took part in the 2020 Point-in-Time Count on Thursday, attending shelters, transitions houses and walking the streets surveying people and trying to understand the main driving factors behind homelessness.

Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, says that while much care has been put into locating members of the homeless population this is not a complete picture of the issue in the region.

“We know that this is sort of just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a bigger population of homeless people living in situations of housing that aren’t stable, aren’t reliable but they aren’t on the street participating in the survey,” she says.

READ ALSO: One in two homeless people have suffered a traumatic brain injury: UBC study

The survey is done every two years across the country and is funded through the federal government’s Reaching Home Strategy. The last survey conducted in Greater Victoria identified over 1,500 people without stable housing living in the CRD. According to Gibson, hidden homelessness can look like couch surfing, living in vehicles, large numbers of people living in small homes — “what it really means is you don’t have a reliable place to stay that’s yours.”

Fraser Fyfe-Wilson, a volunteer, became a member of the hidden homeless population when his rent suddenly jumped $500 and he was forced into transitional housing.

“It just blows my mind that I’m working … making good money and I’m not able to afford a place,” he says. “… I’ve had to go through university and maintain a steady job, but not necessarily always have a place.”

READ ALSO: Victoria, Abbotsford record biggest jumps in rent prices nationwide: report

The last survey found that the two biggest drivers of homelessness were income and employment, says Gibson, either a person can’t find work or their income is not high enough to afford to live in the city.

“We know people who are sleeping on mats at shelter who are homeless and working full time,” says Gibson.

Fyfe-Wilson believes it’s important for the world to see how serious this problem is.

“It’s not just me that went through it, like everybody does — I was walking along Dallas road putting up posters and almost every second car had somebody sleeping in the back seat, just sleeping,” he says.

The results of PiT Count will be analyzed and released in a report that will help with public awareness and identifying the driving forces behind homelessness, along with gaps in services.

For Fyfe-Wilson, who now has been able to secure an apartment with his brother, he wants to see a shift in the situation here in Victoria.

“People 30 years ago, could work at Home Hardware and put a down payment on a house. Now we’ve got people working government jobs sleeping in their car because they can’t afford rent at an apartment — it doesn’t make sense.”

Preliminary results of the number of surveys completed will be available on March 27, with the final report being released later on in the spring.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homeless

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

 

Fraser Fyfe-Wilson chats with other volunteers about the day’s work. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Just Posted

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

COVID-19: Victoria hopes to provide financial relief through property taxes, utility bills

A number of city projects could be deferred in light of pandemic

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Greater Victoria donates 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags and more for those in need

Items placed in 72-hour quarantine before being distributed to help homeless self-isolate

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read