‘You can’t always see homelessness’ says Campbell River homelessness coordinator
A homeless man (Malcolm Garret, pexels.com)
Homelessness is an ongoing concern for many across Vancouver Island.
Thanks to Point in Time counts, we have been able to see just how many people are dealing with homelessness on a daily basis.
Coordinator for the count in Campbell River, Stefanie Hendrickson says these reports include going out and recording data over a 24 hour period, but she says a lot of the time many people go under the radar.
“We have what we call visibly homelessness. Those are the ones living on the street. But we have to remember we have a significant population on the island and all over B.C of people who are not so visibly homeless. These are people who are couch surfing, sleeping at a friends house, Parking their vehicle or RV on a friends property and staying there. There are a lot of people who are homeless that we just can’t see.”
She adds that the reports are almost always an under estimate of the current situation because they are not able to speak with every homeless individual living in the community.
“We take a broad look at it and try to hit it from multiple angles but we do tend to miss those folks who are couch surfing and things like that who might not consider them homeless and aren’t as visible and aren’t using the programs and services available to those in the community.”
“Part of what we’re looking for is to track trends over time. We want to see what’s changed, not just with numbers but with demographics too. Are we seeing a different sort of person who is now sleeping rough, or are we seeing a different age group.
Hendrickson explains that some universal contributing factors to homelessness on the island include mental health and addiction problems or a disability, but also the lack of affordable housing.
“Housing affordability always comes up. I think everybody can agree that housing prices are going up everywhere across the island.”
She told us that right now teams are working on the Point in Time Count for Campbell River, which will take weeks if not a couple of months to complete.