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Homelessness Point in Time Count

On April 11, 2018, United Way KFLA, in partnership with the City of Kingston, will conduct the Urban Point-in-Time (PiT) Homeless Count for Kingston, Ontario.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Kingston will be one of more than 60 communities across the 2016 Point In Time Countcountry to participate in the second nationally coordinated Point in Time (PiT) Count of homeless individuals in any country.

Having this second data point in 2018 will help our community continue to align resources towards achieving our long-term goal of ending homelessness here in Kingston, and contribute to better understanding any progress being made in communities across the country to end homelessness.

2016 Urban Kingston Point-in-Time Count Report

PiT Count FAQ

On April 11th, more than 100 volunteers and staff from the United Way, City of Kingston, and community agencies/organizations will participate in our local PiT Count.

What is a Point in Time (PiT) Count?

Essentially, a PiT Count is a census of people who are homeless at the time of the Count. There are three components:

  1. Outdoor “street” survey – conducted by volunteers encountering homeless persons in pre-mapped areas of the City.
  2. Indoor “shelter” survey – conducted by shelter staff and corroborated with shelter stay statistics.
  3. No Fixed Address “NFA” data – collected from detox facilities, emergency rooms, overnight lock-up, and other institutional locations where homeless persons may be found on the night of the Count.

As well as counting people who are homeless, a brief anonymous survey will be conducted to provide a snapshot of homelessness in the community with information about characteristics such as age, gender, Veteran status, Aboriginal identity.  Additionally, United Way staff will oversee the gathering of these statistics from health and correctional centres, VAW (violence against women) shelters, and from outdoor areas that are inaccessible.

What else?

PiT Counts are conducted across North America and are one of the few ways to get reliable data about the scope of homelessness in a region.  Locally, the PiT count will focus on the urban area of Kingston.

Why are we doing this?

As of January 1, 2014 all municipalities in Ontario are required to have a Housing & Homelessness Plan in place. One of the strategies identified in Kingston’s Plan is to improve data collection, including conducting a bi-annual Point in Time Count.

Kingston conducted its first PiT Count in October, 2013.  In 2016, Kingston was part of the nationally coordinated PiT count that took place in 32 communities across Canada.

Local results of the 2018 PiT Count will be available giving us a profile or “snapshot” of homelessness in Kingston and the ability to compare against our 2016 metrics and some 2013 results.  This data and information will be used to identify what services people are using, help us to better understand the pathways into homelessness, assist with allocating resources to prevent homelessness and with meeting the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness.  The statistics gathered will allow us to measure how Kingston is doing in terms of ending homelessness in our City, and compare our progress provincially and nationally.

How will the PiT Count be done?

Volunteers will be assigned an area to walk in teams along outdoor, safe and public areas. They will introduce themselves to all persons encountered and ask them if they are homeless. If the person is homeless and wishes to participate in a brief survey, the volunteer helps them to complete the survey. Special teams will be deployed to areas where there is a higher safety risk, such as poorly illuminated parks and trails; however, the process will be the same. Everyone who completes a survey receives a “thank you” gift (Tim Hortons voucher, granola bar, juice box, pair of socks, free City bus ride ticket).

All volunteers will be given, and must follow, instructions on how to conduct the survey so that the results are statistically valid. Instructions will be provided during the training on the night of the count, which will take place at Regioplis-Notre Dame Secondary School – for those who have pre-registered as a volunteer.

Shelter-count information on the night of April 11th will also be gathered from City funded emergency shelters and from Kingston’s Provincially-funded violence against women (VAW) shelter.

On the night of the count, emergency rooms, detox centres, and the police will be contacted to obtain an estimate of the number of people staying in Kingston health and custody centres overnight who are listed as having “no fixed address.”

What is the methodology?

The definition of homelessness for the PiT Count is: any individual found outdoors who does not have a place to stay on the night of the survey; also those staying in emergency shelters, VAW (violence against women) shelters, and in health or correctional facilities with no fixed address.

The PIT Count does not cover “hidden” homeless or “couch surfers.” There will also be a strategy for rural Kingston and the County of Frontenac taking place during that week.

For more information about the PiT Count please contact:

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.