A recent Point in Time Count (PiT) in Red Deer is showing that the number of people experiencing homelessness is increasing. The count showed that homelessness increased to 334 in 2022 up from 144 in 2018.
Of the 334 individuals,
29 per cent slept outside, which is an increase from 2018 at 13 per cent of the 144.
Nearly 200 people were enumerated in local emergency shelters or transitional facilities in 2022, up from 86 in 2018.
50 per cent were between the ages of 24 and 44
2 per cent identified as veterans
4 per cent identified as immigrant or refugee
31 per cent identified as Indigenous
25 per cent moved to Red Deer in the previous 12 months
Of 334 people 156 of them participated in a voluntary survey to help the City of Red Deer understand the factors contributing to their homelessness and target the best local supports.
"The survey showed us that lack of income was the most reported reason for housing loss, and the top barrier to finding new housing," said Ryan Veldkamp, Social Wellness & Integration Supports Supervisor. "This further helps us understand how crucial housing affordability is to tackling the issue of homelessness in Red Deer."
The 2022 PIT count was conducted in shelters, on the streets, in the hospital and correctional facilities, and in transitional housing. Enumerators conducted the count in coordination with Alberta’s 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness and with the federal government guidelines.
“Typically, the PiT Count is completed every other year; however, we had to delay the counts due to the pandemic,” said Veldkamp. “Over the past four years, outreach staff reported a rise in the number of people experiencing homelessness and the count and survey data confirmed their expectations.”
This was the fifth time the Point in Time Count has been conducted in Red Deer. The count is coordinated with communities across Canada and is funded by the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. The data collected is used to build an understanding of how the population changes over time and what their needs are so housing programs and support services can be improved.
This article was written with files from the City of Red Deer.