A person sleeps at vacant commercial property in downtown Victoria. Tom Fletcher/BLACK PRESS

A person sleeps at vacant commercial property in downtown Victoria. Tom Fletcher/BLACK PRESS

Point in Time count finds homelessness growing in Victoria

One-day survey finds 1,525 people on city’s streets, compared to 1,387 in 2016

The number of people experiencing homelessness across Greater Victoria is growing, according to the results of the 2018 Point in Time count.

Volunteers took to the streets for a 12-hour period in March as part of a joint effort between the Capital Regional District, the Community Social Planning Council and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

A release from the CRD stated that 1,525 individuals were found to be experiencing homelessness, including 158 who were unsheltered. The last count, in February 2016, found 1,387 people who were experiencing sheltered or non-sheltered homelessness.

“Although the Point in Time Count process has limitations and can’t track trends over time, it provides a minimum estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night,” said Stefanie Hardman, research manager with the Planning Council.

In addition to the count, 906 people participated in a survey designed to gain more information about those in this situation.

RELATED: Point in Time Count to gauge homelessness in Greater Victoria

Nearly 20 per cent of the people surveyed were 55 or older while 17.4 per cent were under 25. The survey also found 41 per cent of people had their first experience of homelessness at 18 years of age or under.

The number of youth experiencing “hidden homelessness” were better captured in the 2018 count, which found that youth often couch-surf by staying with friends.

As many as 33 per cent of respondents identified as Indigenous, despite making up just 4.7 per cent of the region’s population.

Among the overall findings were that youth, Indigenous people and seniors have unique experiences of homelessness, which often starts at an early age. There were also found to be culture and age-related barriers to accessing housing, as well as services.

Although more people are receiving assistance through temporary shelters and transitional housing, many still need access to permanent homes, the survey found.

Almost 94 per cent of people surveyed said they are not homeless by choice and do want permanent housing. Economic issues were the largest cause of homelessness (loss of employment, inadequate income) as well as the need for appropriate resources for those experiencing addiction or struggling with mental health.

A large number of those surveyed were British Columbians – 83 per cent had lived in Victoria for more than one year.

To read the full results of the report visit https://bit.ly/2LBHPRc.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read