City of Windsor 2016 Point in Time Count & 20,000 Homes Campaign Registry Week Final Report September 2016

City of Windsor 2016 Point in Time Count & 20,000 Homes Campaign Registry Week Final Report September 2016

As part of its commitment to the National Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness’ 20,000 Homes Campaign and its local goal to end homelessness, the City of Windsor in partnership with the Homeless Coalition of Windsor Essex County, coordinated the first local Point in Time and Registry Week initiative on April 19 and 20, 2016. During this community event, more than 240 trained com- munity volunteers were deployed throughout the city and county to ensure that individuals, families and youth experiencing homelessness received an opportunity to be counted and surveyed. Engagements occurred in shelters, on the streets, and in various facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness. This Point in Time Count event, which included a housing and support needs survey known as the Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), provides new, critical information for Windsor to move forward in ending homelessness. This report provides an overview of the insights and findings of the 2016 Point in Time Count and Registry Week in Windsor.

On any given night, 201 people experience homelessness in the Windsor area. Many of these are homeless men in their mid 30’s and 40’s becoming stuck in a cycle of shelter use and temporary lo- cations such as staying with family and friends for long periods of time such that their homelessness is chronic. Most adults have been homeless 5.5 months out of the past 12 months, and on average it has been almost 2 years (22.46 months) since any survey participant had permanent stable housing. They have to rely on emergency services to have their health and safety needs met. Of those who completed the prescreen survey, 7 out of 10 reported physical health concerns. Another 35% reported having a chronic physical health condition.

During the enumeration and registry initiative, 201 individuals (including 7 families with 10 dependent children) in the City of Windsor and the County of Essex were identified as experiencing homelessness during this 24-hour period. Given the limitations of any isolated point in time investigation, this number should be considered the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in the City of Windsor and County of Essex.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed were adults between the ages of 25 and 64, while 21% were youth aged 15-24 and 3% were 65 years of age or older. The youngest unaccompanied single surveyed was 16 and the oldest was 77 years of age. The overall average age of respondents was 37 years of age. As is often the scenario in communities, 76% of the individuals experiencing homelessness were male, 23% were female and the remaining 1% either refusing to answer or indicating otherwise. Interestingly, female respondents were more likely to rely on hidden homeless options such as staying with friends than their male counterparts.

In addition to age and gender demographics, 29% of the people experiencing homelessness self-identified as being of Aboriginal ancestry with 6% of the respondents identifying their veteran status. Although 24% of the respondents identified that they had moved to Windsor in the past year, a small proportion (3%) were of immigrant or refugee status.

While there are many people that are street involved, especially during daylight hours, “staying out- doors” was identified as the most common place to sleep for a very small proportion of people experiencing homelessness (5%). Forty percent of all individuals identified couch surfing as their primary means of shelter in Windsor; therefore, an emphasis on addressing hidden homelessness in Windsor is important for strategic planning. Beyond non-permanent locations where a person has no fixed address like sleeping at a friend’s house, homelessness in Windsor is primarily found in shelters. Six- ty-four percent of respondents identified that they had stayed in a shelter over the past 12 months and 46% of individuals identified an emergency shelter or transitional housing unit as where they would be sleeping that night.


ORGANIZATION: The City of Windsor