Between March 11 and 12, 2020, over 175 citizen volunteers and staff, along with a cross-sector of service agencies and community partners, participated in the Capital Region’s third Point-in-Time Homeless count and survey. This extensive effort counted at least 1,523 individuals who experienced homelessness on the night of March 11, 2020. On March 12, volunteers conducted over 850 surveys with people experiencing homelessness across the region, providing an invaluable set of personal histories, experiences, and needs.
This year’s Point-in-Time (PiT) count occurred at a unique time in history, during the local emergence and response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Although a formal pandemic response from homeless supporting agencies and federal, provincial and local governments occurred a few days following the enumeration, awareness and information were circulating about the pandemic at the time of the count that could have influenced people’s decisions to isolate out of doors or attend PiT count-related events. More recent initiatives put into place, such as repurposing hotel rooms to allow individuals to safely shelter in place, will have shifted the numbers between unsheltered and provisionally sheltered since the PiT count.
The Point-in-Time project is much more than a tool used to count the number of people experiencing homelessness on a given night. It is a strategy used to provide insight into the nature and extent of homelessness within a community. The survey collects data about the demographics, history, and service needs of those experiencing homelessness to help guide decision-makers, planners, and service providers in directing resources to areas of greatest need.