Homelessness up 23%

Homelessness in Kelowna is up 23 per cent over data collected two years ago.

This according to results of the Point-in-Time homeless count in the city conducted March 6.

The count shows at least 286 people were experiencing homelessness on that day, an increase of 23 per cent over the 2016 count which showed 233 people were homeless.

The Point-in-Time count also includes a survey to show who are most affected, and why.

According to the survey, 68 per cent are male, while one-in-four are aboriginal.

A majority of those people identified as homeless (85 per cent), fall in the 25 to 64 age range, three per cent are seniors and another three per cent 14 years or younger.

Another 319 people were living in temporary, system-supported housing.

"The changes from Kelowna’s 2016 PiT count must be considered in the context of the changes seen in the city within the past two years including an increase in population and the opening and closing of facilities," the report says.

It also suggests findings can be used to assist with future development of initiatives through the Journey Home Strategy and act as a benchmark to measure future success.

"Ideally, the next PiT Count will measure the efforts put forth by the community to reduce homelessness," the report says.

"The goal set out by the Journey Home Strategy is to eliminate chronic and episodic homelessness by 2024. Therefore, the next three PiT Counts could be instrumental in measuring the efforts of this commitment."


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