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More than 1,000 people are homeless in the area, Waterloo Region says

An abandoned homeless encampment in the Kinnaird Ravine in Edmonton's river valley. Sarah Komadina/ Global News

Waterloo Region says a count completed in September found that 1,085 people in the area are living in some form of homeless situation.

The region says that the Point in Time count, which was conducted from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23, involves counting the number of people experiencing homelessness in the region while also using an anonymous survey to ask people about the experience.

“The numbers in the Point in Time count are consistent with the numbers we see across Waterloo Region in our database of those accessing services,”  Housing Services manager Chris McEvoy said.

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“We know that everyone is housing ready, and will continue to work towards ending chronic homelessness in the Region of Waterloo.”

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The last time a Point in Time count was conducted was back in 2018. It showed that 333 people were experiencing homelessness in the area, but the region’s report says he changes are not just coming from more people lving on the streets but there was also a different methodology used in the count.

Of the 1,085 people, the region says 412 are “living rough” which means they are living in an encampment, on the street or out of a car while the remainder were “experiencing hidden homelessness, in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, or were in institutions.”

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The region says the count also includes people who were in other systems such as hospitals, police custody and women’s crisis services to get an accurate number of those experiencing homelessness.

Both the provincial and federal levels of government require the region to conduct the survey every two years.

The region says that because of the engagement process, staff are suggesting it should increase the amount it is spending on end homelessness to increase supports and services.

Some of the measures include explain the the home-based support program to support an additional 50 people and doubling the current housing-focused street outreach services.

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