On March 24, 2015, 537 volunteers and 18 street workers took to Montreal’s streets, subway stations and part of its underground city, looking for homeless people and asking them to respond to a short survey. They also went into shelters. On March 25 and 26, 125 volunteers visited day centres and soup kitchens with the same purpose. From April to June a research team contacted shelters, transitional housing providers, hospitals, provincial detention centres and therapy centres to find out how many homeless people had stayed there during the night of March 24 - 25.
Our methodology is on the whole comparable to that used by other Canadian cities, in particular Toronto, with two significant exceptions: we included day centres and soup kitchens on March 25 and 26, and we went to great lengths to identify everyone who was homeless during the night of March 24. We did this by contacting a wide array of institutions and organizations over the following months. By innovating in this way we were able to count homeless people in a more complete way than other cities. We were able to obtain a further 560 completed questionnaires by visiting soup kitchens and day centres, for a total of 1,514 questionnaires, increasing the reliability of our findings on the homeless population.