Organizers of the 2018 Joint Point-in-Time Count and Registry Week gathered at Whitby Public Library yesterday with volunteers and community members to review the findings of Durham Region’s second count of individuals who experience homelessness. They were joined by Oshawa MPP Jennifer French and Oshawa Mayor John Henry.
The PiT Count involved over 80 volunteers canvassing 38 service providers, 30 “hot spot” sites (24-hour restaurants, libraries, etc.), and 12 shelters and transitional homes, in addition to the streets. The seven magnet events were designed to draw indivduals who are precariously housed.
Clarence Keesman, Chair of the PiT Count Community Advisory Board, says “The data is vital because behind the data, there lies human stories – real people with real needs whom we get to walk alongside and together come up with solutions.”
Diana Chappell, representing the Region of Durham, says “The Registry Week allowed us to reach people who are living precariously and the Region knows that this represents the majority of people that we serve. The data allows us to make evidence-informed decisions about how we can allocate funds most effectively.”
Daniel Cullen, who has experienced homelessness and who represented Durham Region’s HOPE Coalition on the Joint PiT Count & Registry Week Planning Committee, says “I never grew up with the intention of being a homeless man. Homelessness happened to me, but recovery happened with me. This community effort can help lead others along the pathway to recovery. If you give someone a hope that is bigger than the challenge they face, they will rise to great heights.”
Anika Mifsud of the Community Development Council of Durham, was one of the initiative’s main organizers. She comments that “Future counts will allow us to measure progress towards our ultimate goal – ending homelessness in Durham Region.”