Community in Focus: Housing

2023 GREATER VICTORIA POINT-IN-TIME HOMELESS COUNT & HOUSING NEEDS SURVEY

According to the 2023 Greater Victoria Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Housing Needs Survey, on the night of March 7, 2023, there were at least 1,665 homeless individuals in the capital region. Nearly half, or 765 individuals, participated in a housing needs survey. The findings reveal that:

  • Nearly one in four respondents (25%) are 55 and older, and 8% are youth under the age of 25. Over a third (36%) had their first experience of homelessness at 18 years of age or younger.
  • One in three (33%) identify as Indigenous. This is much higher than the rate in the broader population (5%).
  • Many have been homeless for long periods – 67% have been homeless for more than six months over the past year, and 50% report having been homeless for the past 365 days or more.
  • About 35% of respondents have been discharged or evicted into homelessness from subsidized housing, transitional housing, supportive housing, corrections, mental health/substance use residential treatment, or hospital emergency rooms.
  • A majority of respondents are British Columbians – 82% have lived in Greater Victoria for more than one year, and 19% have lived in the region their entire lives. Of those who moved to the region, 55% came from other regions in BC. The most common reasons for moving include to be with family who had moved to the community, to visit friends or family, and to seek or secure employment.
  • Common services and supports needed by respondents include access to primary care services (58%) and food security supports (51%). This was closely followed by identification services (46%), mental health supports (45%), and addictions services (44%).

A Point-in-Time Homeless Count is a strategy to help determine the extent of homelessness in a community on a given night. It also provides insight into who is experiencing homelessness and the nature of that experience. The count generates important community-level data that can inform system and program planning by service providers and governments.

Source: Capital Regional District, Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region, Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, University of Victoria

 

ALLIANCE TO END HOMELESSNESS IN THE CAPITAL REGION

The Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region has rebranded and is continuing its focus on functional zero homelessness. When a community has reached functional zero, it means that homelessness is managed by an adequate supply of services and supports to meet the needs of individuals who are experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness.

This approach recognizes that homelessness is more than a single event or one state of being. It can be episodic, chronic or structural and can include being unsheltered, emergency sheltered, provisionally sheltered, or at risk of homelessness.

The Alliance uses Point-in-Time (PiT) Homeless Count data to help guide its mission to achieve functional zero homelessness and advance its strategic goals and objectives.  For example, the 2023 PiT Count found that nearly half of respondents identified a lack of available options (i.e., low vacancy) as a barrier.  In support of information from the previous two PiT counts and the community, the Alliance is developing a system-wide Community Data Dashboard, starting with monitoring housing inventory in the region that will support quantification and measurement of progress towards a functional zero housing supply.

There is a common misconception that individuals experiencing homelessness do not want to get into some form of permanent housing, however, only 5% of 2023 PiT Count respondents said they did not want housing. Additionally, respondents indicated that discrimination (19%), racism (7%) and sexism (3%) were key issues for them. In 2023, the Alliance conducted a series of Face 2 Face with Stigma workshops and facilitated talking circles, resident advisory committees, and other meetings among people with lived experience of homelessness, community members who live in supportive housing, and peers.

Source: Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region