8.3 Towards a Strategy for Counting the Homeless

Conventional strategies for counting individuals based on households do not apply to the homeless. The homeless are a transient, mobile, and elusive population, although they tend to aggregate for short periods in places such as shelters, soup kitchens, medical services, and drop-in centres. Carrying out counts in these types of locations requires permission and cooperation from those providing the services that the homeless use. This article describes service-based methods for counting the homeless and discusses some of the challenges and questions that remain with these methods.


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Hulchanski, J. David
Campsie, Philippa
Chau, Shirley B.Y.
Hwang, Stephen H.
Paradis, Emily
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness