Home­less women in city dou­ble na­tional av­er­age

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON

The per­cent­age of women among peo­ple who are home­less in Kingston is more than twice the na­tional av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted ear­lier this year.

The city’s ur­ban point-in-time home­less count, con­ducted dur­ing a four-hour pe­riod in midApril, showed that 152 peo­ple were liv­ing in dif­fer­ent stages of home­less­ness.

Of those 152 peo­ple, 98 agreed to fill out a sur­vey, with 59 of them – 55 per cent – iden­ti­fy­ing as fe­male. When de­pen­dent chil­dren were fac­tored in, that per­cent­age jumped to 60 per cent.

Point-in-time counts in other ar­eas of Canada showed an av­er­age of 27 per cent of home­less peo­ple be­ing fe­male.

Among the home­less who were in­cluded in the ur­ban count were 12 fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing 19 chil­dren.

The count in the Kingston area ear­lier this year showed a slight de­cline in the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing out­side or in emer­gency shel­ters. That de­cline was off­set some­what by an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple with­out a per­ma­nent ad­dress or liv­ing in tran­si­tional hous­ing.

“Home­less­ness enu­mer­a­tion pro­vides im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion to as­sist in en­sur­ing avail­able fund­ing is di­rected to meet the needs of those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness and will help mon­i­tor progress over­time,” Shel­don Laid­man, di­rec­tor of hous­ing and so­cial ser­vices at the city, said.

The count found 81 peo­ple were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “ab­so­lute home­less­ness” and many – 74 per cent – were tak­ing refuge in an emer­gency shel­ter, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ter or an in­sti­tu­tion such as a detox cen­tre, hos­pi­tal or re­mand cen­tre on the night of the count. About a dozen of the re­spon­dents were sleep­ing out­side, in parks, tents or on the streets on the same night, and an­other eight peo­ple were un­sure of where they would be sleep­ing.

An­other 59 peo­ple were liv­ing in tran­si­tional hous­ing, and a dozen oth­ers were stay­ing at city mo­tels or with friends.

Of the 98 peo­ple who agreed to fill out the sur­vey, 86 per cent were shel­tered, in­clud­ing 48 per cent who were found in emer­gency or do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ters, 40 per cent who were liv­ing in tran­si­tional hous­ing, seven per cent who were couch surf­ing and five per cent who were stay­ing at a mo­tel.

The sur­vey also showed that the av­er­age age of a home­less per­son in Kingston was 31, and they were home­less on av­er­age 188 days in the past year.

In ru­ral Kingston and Fron­tenac County, about two-thirds of home­less peo­ple were de­scribed as “hid­den home­less” and were find­ing shel­ter with friends or fam­ily.

In the ru­ral ar­eas, the home­less pop­u­la­tion was, on av­er­age, older, and males ac­counted for about 54 per cent of the 61 peo­ple who iden­ti­fied as home­less.

About 46 per cent of ru­ral home­less iden­ti­fied as In­dige­nous, as op­posed to 24 per cent in the ur­ban part of Kingston.

In both ur­ban and ru­ral counts, men­tal ill­ness was cited by about 80 per cent of the peo­ple sur­veyed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.