Volunteers hit the streets to collect information about homelessness in Winnipeg Wednesday, in the city’s first Street Census since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Street Census involves trained volunteers conducting brief, in-person surveys with those experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg.
“It gives us … an approximate number as to how many people are still living out on the streets, either precariously housed, hidden homeless, or in shelters or on the streets themselves,” Wiebe told Global News Winnipeg Morning Wednesday.
“This gives everybody a relatively close number we can present to the federal government in regards to funding issues.
“So it’s fundamental that we do this as often as we can.”
Winnipeg’s first Street Census was first completed in 2015 and a second one was done three years later.
Although a census was done in 2021, the pandemic meant the in-person survey component was not possible.
“The pandemic put a two-year delay on the Street Census, so we’re very curious and interested in the results that this Street Census might reveal,” said End Homelessness Winnipeg CEO Jason Whitford in a release.
“The final results … will help us as an organization and a community to bring greater awareness and education on homelessness, but also improve planning and strategies to prevent people from becoming homeless, and provide more insight into what resources can be most effective for ending homelessness.”
In all, 300 local volunteers were expected to take part in the survey Wednesday, walking through central areas of Winnipeg and speaking to those who were unhoused or living rough.
The final results of the survey will be made available in October.
“This is going to give my community a voice to be heard on what they need done, instead of us telling people what they want,” said peer advocate, Jacob Kaufman.
“It’s important that we’re doing this, to give people a voice.”