A Count of Homeless Person’s in Edmonton: 2008

A Count of Homeless Person’s in Edmonton: 2008

This report describes the process and results of the eighth count of Homeless people in Edmonton. The criteria set for identifying the homeless includes the absolute homeless (those individuals and families having no housing alternatives) and the sheltered homeless (those living in emergency accommodations and expected to be on the street at the end of the day). Demographics and additional information on ‘turnaways’ and ‘discharges’ were also gathered in this count. Over 220 volunteers helped with the enumeration, including Boyle Street’s Parkland Outreach which provided the means to locate individuals otherwise not accessed for the count. There were 3079 homeless people counted in the City of Edmonton. Of these, 1862 were absolute homeless and 1217 were sheltered homeless. This represents an increase of 18% in the overall number of homeless individuals in the City of Edmonton from the 2006 count tally of 2618. In terms of gender, 2124 or (69%) of homeless individuals were observed to be male and 23%, or 702 were female. Of the remaining 253 or 8%, 245 were children and caregivers in families whose gender was not observed. The relative proportion of the number of men to women is higher than the 2006 count results; in total, there was an increase of 304 males and 94 females. The Count recorded a significant decrease in the number of turnaways in 2008. Only 52 people were turned away as compared to 256 in 2006. In addition, the number discharged with no home to return to dropped to 72 from the previous count of 113. Turnaways are not included in the homeless tally. There were no turnaways from housing providers. There was a significant increase in the number of families enumerated in 2008 as compared to 2006 (133 compared to 79). This represents an 87% increase (34) in the number of Absolute Homeless Families; a 50% increase (20) in the number of Sheltered Homeless Families. This can be attributed to a number of factors including improvements in the survey forms, which clarified the definition of dependants, caregivers, and their housing status, as well as an increase in the number of spaces available for women and children i.e. La Salle and Wings of Providence. There are 125 children living on the street. There was an increase in the number of shelter spaces available from 2006, of those available spaces, a large number are reserved for women and children; this is reflected in the increase in the number of homeless families. The vast majority of the 3079 total homeless figure is single aboriginal men between the ages of 31-54. The numbers reflect an increase in the number of children, and seniors over 65 yrs of age living on the street.

Summary Credit:
Homelessness-Related Research Capacities in Alberta: A Comprehensive Environmental Scan, prepared by Dr. Katharina Kovacs Burns, MSc, MHSA, PhD and Dr. Solina Richter, PhD, RN for The Alberta Homelessness Research Consortium (2010)

ORGANIZATION: Homeward Trust, Homeless Count Committee
PUBLICATION DATE: 2008
LOCATION: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada