Kamloops to take part in national homeless count

By Adam Donnelly
February 2, 2018 - 4:58pm Updated: February 2, 2018 - 6:56pm

KAMLOOPS — Every fall, multiple agencies in Kamloops get together and conduct a homeless count to help take a snapshot of how many people in our local community are living in a vulnerable state. This spring, Kamloops is taking part in a national point-in-time homeless count, which will take a broader snapshot of the homeless situation in 60 communities across the country. Local organizers of the count are looking for volunteers to help make the count a success.

Planning is underway for the 2018 Point-in-Time National Homeless count. The count is a cross-Canada initiative meant to give policymakers a clear snapshot of the homeless situation in communities throughout the country.

“The nationwide count really allows for all the communities across the nation to use the same… research methodology,” Kamloops PIT Count Coordinator Lisa Bajkov explained. “On the local side, it’s important because service providers will then know where to appropriate focus all their resources.”

The count is being administered on behalf of the federal government by the city of Kamloops. Bajkov and the city’s Social Development Specialist Natalie Serl have been working together to bring all the relevant stakeholders in the city together to help make the event a reality.

“We’re responsible for overseeing the overall project, helping coordinate, getting all the service providers together,” Serl told CFJC Today. “[Also] ensuring we deliver the count in a very indigenous culturally relevant and sensitive manner, as well, because we know the indigenous homelessness is over-represented.”

Serl says the data collected during the National point-in-time homeless count will arm the government and the communities involved with valuable information in the fight against homelessness.

“All that data and all those aspects will benefit different types of community partners and the city,” Serl said.

While the count itself takes place at the end of March, Bajkov says it’s important to get volunteers involved early on, in order to ensure they receive the necessary training for count day.

“We’re looking to recruit almost 150 volunteers,” Barkov said, adding they were also hoping to hand out bags containing hygiene and some luxury items to those who participate in the count. If you’d like more information on volunteering and donating, you can contact the count organizers.

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