2022 Point-in-Time Count shows “extraordinarily troubling” number of unhoused individuals in HRM

May 31/22
2022 Point-in-Time Count shows “extraordinarily troubling” number of unhoused individuals in HRM

Media Release

2022 Point-in-Time Count shows “extraordinarily troubling” number of unhoused individuals in HRM

May 31, 2022 – Halifax, NS – The Point-in-Time (PiT) Counts are community-level surveys conducted across Canada to provide a one-day snapshot of the state of homelessness in their respective communities, and on a national level. The 2022 PiT Count for Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was led by Eric Jonsson, Program Coordinator, Navigator Street Outreach Program. Conducted on April 7, 2022, the PiT Count showed that 586 individuals in HRM are without a safe, permanent address.

“It is extraordinarily troubling to see that 586 people are unhoused in HRM, but I want to highlight that this count was only from a single day,” says Jonsson. “More people are experiencing homelessness since then. We can only expect this number to grow unless there’s adequate, concerted efforts from all levels of government and the nonprofit sector to support this group of people.”

The results of the 2022 PiT Count for HRM show that:

  • Marginalized people are over-represented:
    • 22% self-identify as First Nations, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous Ancestry (vs. 4% of total HRM population)
    • 15% African NS, Black, Caribbean, or African Descent individuals (vs. 3.8% of total HRM population)
    • 15% 2SLGTBQl individuals
    • 27% are former youth in care
  • People with disabilities & health issues are over-represented, with 63% facing mental health challenges, and 59% facing substance use challenges
  • 138 People (41%) experienced homelessness for the first time during the pandemic
  • 179 people (55%) lost their housing in the six months prior to the 2022 PiT Count

“Over the years, we consistently see that vulnerable, marginalized groups continue to be over-represented in the unhoused population, and are at higher risk for homelessness,” says data analyst Charlene Gagnon, who worked alongside Jonsson to create the report. She has been involved with the PiT Count for HRM since 2015.

“The data has also showed,” continued Gagnon, “that the economic stresses brought on by the pandemic and other global events have only exacerbated the homelessness situation in HRM.”

The current homelessness crisis, according to Jonsson and Gagnon, is the worst HRM has seen in recent years. This is also the most unhoused people recorded in the PiT Count since the surveys started in 2015.

But even these numbers do not capture the whole picture of homelessness in HRM.

“The people included in the PiT Count are the ‘visible’ unhoused population,” says Sheri Lecker, Executive Director, Adsum House for Women and Children. “There are people who do not go to service providers, are couch surfing, or are families experiencing homelessness who want to fly under the radar to not attract the attention of Child Welfare Services. These are just some of the ‘invisible’ unhoused population who must also be taken into consideration.”

The PiT Count defines unhoused individuals as those accessing emergency shelters and transitional housing programs of less than 12 months, as well as those in spaces unfit or unintended for human habitation such as public spaces, tents, cars, or sheds on municipal and church-owned land.

The key findings of the 2022 PiT Count for HRM can be found at downtownhalifax.ca/news/2022pitcount. The full report will be available by late June 2022.

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For more information:

Raf Peligro
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Downtown Halifax Business Commission