By Cecilia Nasmith
Northumberland County has issued a report resulting from Registry Week 2018, a period in April when the county and community partners reached out to those experiencing homelessness as part of their second local homelessness enumeration.
Survey teams fanned out across the county that week to meet with 51 individuals and 10 families to complete surveys about their housing history, health, and current levels of risk and need. The report was shared at the November county council meeting.
Community and social services director Lisa Horne said the information gathered is vital to their efforts to understand the individual situations of members of the community experiencing homelessness
“Working with our community partners, this person-specific data will help us to tailor our programs and strengthen our system of supports in order to deliver a meaningful impact,” Horne said in the county's press release.
This process was part of a province-wide collection of homeless-enumeration data, now mandated by the government to occur every two years to inform both local and provincial housing and homelessness programs and policies.
Although homeless counts do not give a full picture of the extent of homelessness in a community, survey data collected during Registry Week does help to define the scope of homelessness in Northumberland as well as the characteristics of this vulnerable population. This data – along with the county's 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan, the pending Affordable Housing strategy and other research – will help the county in planning effective services and programs that support housing access and stability for Northumberland residents, as well as in measuring progress over time towards reducing the incidence of homelessness.
From The 2018 State of Homelessness in Northumberland County report, the county spotlighted key findings.
Findings captured in the report The 2018 State of Homelessness in Northumberland County’ include:
· Eighteen per cent of survey respondents were aged 16 to 25, 71% were aged 25 to 59, and 10% were aged 60 or older
· Sixty-three per cent of adults and 80% of families reported that they were experiencing homelessness as a fall-out from emotional, physical, psychological, sexual or other type of abuse or trauma.
· Sixty-four per cent of youth reported that they were experiencing homelessness because of an unhealthy or abusive relationship, either at home or elsewhere.
· Sixty-six per cent had to leave an apartment or other housing due to their physical health, while 23% have lost their housing because of a mental-health concern.
· Sixty per cent of all survey respondents were assessed as high acuity (meaning intensive supports were required).
To view the full report, as well as other information about housing and homelessness plans for Northumberland, visit www.northumberlandcounty.ca/2018RegistryWeek.