The count was part of an initiative led by the 7 Cities on Housing & Homelessness (7 Cities) in collaboration with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to develop a harmonized approach to homeless counts nationally.
Alberta is the first jurisdiction to implement measures towards a more standardized methodology, leading the way in Canada. Though counts across Alberta are becoming more aligned, this is the first time this effort has been undertaken and future counts will improve from ongoing learnings.
Considerable alignment has been achieved in the first implementation of a provincial count, however, there remain key methodological variances which have been identified as having a high likelihood of impacting the comparability of results across the province. As a result, the report recommends action to improve the Alberta methodology in future counts.
The Count has been compiled for several purposes: 1) to estimate the size of the homeless population in Alberta, 2) to estimate the distribution of the homeless population across the province, 3) to infer changes in the size of the homeless population and 4) to describe and compare the characteristics of the homeless populations. These items are all important for evaluating policy and initiatives aimed at addressing homelessness and to inform decision makers as to the scale of the problem.