They’re not just a number. That’s the message York Region officials are sharing as they prepare to count the number of people experiencing homelessness as part of a province-wide count from April 17 to 20.
I Count. I’m Not Just a Number is the first province-wide count of its kind in Canada. Regional staff and volunteers will connect with those experiencing homelessness by visiting different sites throughout York Region. Information collected will help connect people to the right services and supports, ensure those with the highest need get the supports necessary to get housed as well as better understand the scope of homelessness in the community.
“Creating a safe, accessible, inclusive and supportive community is a top priority for York Regional Council,” says Wayne Emmerson, York Region chairman and CEO. “York Region continues to work with all levels of government and our community agencies to reduce homelessness and ensure all residents have a stable and affordable place to call home.”
York Region has outlined and is measuring its actions to reduce homelessness and help people have a safe, affordable place to live in its 10-Year Housing Plan: Housing Solutions: A place for everyone.
Homelessness affects all ages and demographics. An estimated 235,000 people across Canada are homeless, often because of physical and mental illness, personal or family crisis, job loss, rising housing costs and low income. It’s estimated that less than one per cent of York Region residents are homeless.
Prevention costs less than housing someone who is homeless. The longer someone is homeless, the more they rely on expensive crisis supports such as emergency rooms, financial assistance and emergency housing, says the region website.