Volunteers during the 2017 homeless count in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Volunteers needed for 2020 homeless count in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

Surveys planned for evening of March 3, throughout the day on March 4

Roughly 1,200 volunteers are needed throughout Metro Vancouver for the 2020 Homeless Count.

Of those 1,200, some are needed in Surrey as well.

READ ALSO: HOMELESS COUNT: The toll of Surrey streets, March 16, 2017

Organizers are looking for volunteers “with experience in a previous homeless count, those who work with poeple experiencing homelessness (nurses, outreach staff or first responders), students in social service fields, and people with lived experience of homelessness,” according to a release from the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) Wednesday (Feb. 5).

Experienced volunteers are paired with people who are new to the count, BCNPHA added.

The 2020 Homeless Count takes place over a 24-hour period, starting in the evening of March 3 and throughout the day on March 4 (6 a.m. to midnight).

To volunteer, or for more information, visit vancitycommunityfoundation.ca/initiative/2020-homeless-count.

“The regional homeless count is such an important tool for people working with individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as those in the community housing sector, and in government,” said Jill Atkey, CEO of BCNPHA.

“The demographic information helps service providers tailor their programs to better meet the needs of the individuals they’re serving, and the trends we see over time are critical for policy development for all levels of government and the non-profit groups that are working to prevent and end homelessness.”

Surrey is one of 11 communities in Metro Vancouver conducting a homeless count this year. The others include, Burnaby, Delta, Langley (city and township), New Westminster, North Shore (city and district of North Vancouver and West Vancouver), Richmond, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody), Vancouver and White Rock.

The homeless count has been conducted every three years since 2002. In 2017, according to BCNPHA, the count identified about 3,605 people experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver, “either living on the streets or staying in shelters or temporarily in other facilities.”

READ ALSO: Count finds 49 per cent more homeless people in Surrey, April 10, 2017

The count is a “point-in-time snapshot” of people experiencing homelessness on a given day in the region, and is “understood to determine the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness.”

BCNPHA says the count has three main goals: to estimate the number of people who are experiencing homeless; to obtain a demographic profile of people through the count survey; and to identify long-term trends in the number and profile of people who are experiencing homelessness.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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