Events set for Homelessness Action Week

A homeless man at his camp spot at the foot of Third Avenue in Prince George. Bill Phillips photo
A homeless man at his camp spot at the foot of Third Avenue in Prince George. Bill Phillips photo

This is Homelessness Action Week across the province and the United Way of Northern B.C. has several events planned for the week.

It dished up Thanksgiving dinner yesterday to the city’s homeless at the Sacred Heart auditorium.

Today, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. it will be Connect Day the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.

On Wednesday, from 8:30-10 a.m. there will be a pancake breakfast at the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.

The Aboriginal Housing Society, at 1919 17th Avenue will be providing a chili lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday.

There were at least 129 homeless people in Prince George on April 18 and another 79 spent the night previous in transitional housing, according to the Point-in-Time Homeless Count.

The count is part in a nationally coordinated effort, led by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy, to measure homelessness in Canada. The Point-in-Time (PiT) Homeless Count was administered by the United Way of Northern BC, and conducted in partnership with the Community Partners Addressing Homelessness and community stakeholders.

The count offers a ‘snapshot’ of homelessness in Prince George on a particular date. It should not be taken as exact given that there are ‘hidden’ homeless who are not readily visible on the street, such as those staying short term with friends/relatives, people in medical care etc.

Of those surveyed:

  • 23 of 150 respondents (14 per cent) stayed outdoors the night prior
  • 61 of 150 respondents (44 per cent) stayed in emergency shelters the night prior
  • 79 per cent identified as being of indigenous descent
  • 50 per cent of 143 respondents were female, 46 per cent were male, three per cent identified as two-spirit and one per cent identified as transgender
  • Ages ranged from 15 to 78 years old
  • 48 per cent of respondents are between the ages of 25-44; 43 per cent ages 45-64; seven per cent under 25; two per cent older than 65.
  • Three per cent had served in the Canadian military or RCMP
  • Almost half of the respondents (45 per cent) had previously been in foster care and/or group homes.
  • 96 of the respondents are chronically homeless (homeless for six months or more of the past year)
  • 33 of the respondents are episodically homeless (homeless three or more times in the past year)
  • When asked the age they first became homeless, 34 per cent indicated under 18, while the median age was 24
  • Most respondents (96 per cent) indicate they do want to get into permanent housing.