United Way KFL&A has announced its Point in Time Count for 2021.
The Point in Time Count (PIT) is a survey done to record the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in an area.
A total of 207 people were recorded during the count, a higher number than past years’ totals. Of that number, approximately 176 agreed to a survey, where 80 per cent of those individuals identified as having a mental health issue.
The Point in Time Count could not happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was conducted on April 14, 2021 instead.
Typically, the count is done by trained volunteers but in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it was conducted by staff at agencies and street outreach workers.
“We really appreciate the efforts of our local agencies, healthcare partners and local institutions assisting in this count,” says Bhavana Varma, president and CEO, United Way KFL&A.
Because of the pandemic, many changes had to be made. The number of shelter beds was also reduced in 2021 due to capacity restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic for a total of 67, including six beds in an overflow shelter, down from 96 in 2018. Additionally, there were hotel rooms available to be accessed for people who needed to isolate. The Integrated Care Hub was also created with approximately 45 spaces for people to rest overnight.
“The data collected in 2021 shows some changes and in particular the impacts of the pandemic on people in vulnerable situations and marginalized individuals in our community,” says Varma.
It was also noted that 31 per cent of those experiencing homelessness identify as Indigenous, despite Kingston’s population being less than five percent Indigenous.
The entire PIT report can be found on the United Way KFL&A website.