2nd Winnipeg street census to provide snapshot of homelessness in city

Jolene Wilson explains the importance of hearing stories from people living on the street. Diana Foxall/Global News

More than 300 volunteers are coming together Wednesday to take part in Winnipeg’s second street census.

The project will provide a snapshot of the city’s overall homeless population and provide data on how the population changes over time.

The information will be gathered in two main ways: volunteers will conduct face-to-face surveys and data will be provided by organizations and government agencies.

Surveys will be conducted with those experiencing homelessness in a variety of places, including emergency shelters, transitional housing sites, drop-in locations, and unsheltered areas for those staying outside.

An outreach team will also drive to other areas to reach those experiencing homelessness outside of the inner city.

READ MORE: Second tally of Winnipeg’s homeless population coming

The first census took place on October 25, 2015, and found 1,400 people were homeless on that evening.

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Just under 500 people were living in what is called absolute homelessness, which means in an unsheltered area or in any sort of emergency shelter.

Just over 200 people who were experiencing homelessness were under the age of 30.

The full report from the 2015 census can be viewed here.

Related: Osborne Village experiencing “homeless takeover”

Organizers are hoping this year’s information will be used to improve decision making for funders, governments, and community organizations. And they hope to use the information to track progress on an eventual goal of ending homelessness.

“Because it’s only the second one, we’re probably going to see an increase and it will be hard to decide if that increase is because our methodology is better — because it will be better, because we learned a lot from the first one — or because the numbers have gone up,” Christina Maes Nino, with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, told Global News in February.

Initial results will be released June 12 and then a final report will be released in September.

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