“Homelessness effects more people than you think… there is a shortage of housing. The more we do to solve homelessness, the better off everyone in Chatham-Kent will be,” say a CK Registry Week Survey Participant.

From April 9th to April 14th, 2018, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent took part in a provincially coordinated initiative to measure homelessness locally.

The Registry Week, the first of its kind in Chatham-Kent, was led by Employment & Social Services in partnership with agencies that provide services to homeless and precariously housed residents across the Municipality.

In total, 80 volunteers were involved in the count.

Over a period of six days, volunteers counted and surveyed individuals accessing services at 36 survey access points including community service providers, emergency and temporary accommodation, and unsheltered locations.

Due to the rural geography of Chatham-Kent a dedicated phone line was established for those that were unable to access a Registry location.

This was a key milestone in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s campaign to end homelessness, which is connected to the national 20,000 Homes Campaign and includes a commitment to house the most vulnerable homeless in our community by July 2020.

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” states Chantal Perry, Program Manager, Employment & Social Services.

“We now know who is homeless by name, what their needs and vulnerabilities are. We now have the information needed to measure progress towards our ultimate goal: ending homelessness in Chatham-Kent.”

The count offers a ‘snapshot’ of homelessness in Chatham-Kent, Municipal officials say.

The results indicate the minimum number of people experiencing unsheltered and sheltered homelessness in the community at any given time.

In addition to a count of absolute homelessness, individuals who were couch-surfing, staying temporarily with friends or family, were given the option to participate in the survey.

74 respondents out of 258 surveyed participants were experiencing homelessness during the Registry Week.

38 was the average age of homeless respondents; 54% identified as male, while 32% identified as female.

42% of homeless respondents were precariously sheltered, 42% were hidden homeless, and 9% were unsheltered.

“The results will improve our understanding of the needs and circumstances of the people who are affected by homelessness in our community and how programs and services can better meet the needs of homeless individuals and families,”

Chatham-Kent’s Registry Week activities were funded through The Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and funding support was received from the Ontario Ministry of Housing.