A total of 872 people stayed in emergency shelters in 2016, says a report headed to the community services committee next week.
That compares to 866 people in 2008, the first year the annual Report Card on Homelessness was released.
“This number increased to over 1,000 per year between 2009 and 2012,” the report says. “There were 1,121 people on the waiting list for rent geared to income housing in 2008, compared to 1,082 on the waiting list in 2016.
“In 2008 the average market rent for a one bedroom apartment was $651, compared to $776 in 2016.”
The report card is used as a way to gauge how policies aimed at helping the city's most vulnerable citizens are impacting their lives.
In addition to helping the homeless, the report card says the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative helped 1,940 households avoid becoming homeless by providing them with such things as funds for rental arrears, utility arrears, last month’s rent deposits and utility deposits.
“The 2016 Report Card ... documents the change in service use through the emergency shelter programs over the past few years, and the development of Housing First and Harm Reduction programs that have demonstrated success with persons who have experienced chronic homelessness,” the report says.
“The Report Card on Homelessness is intended to provide information to all sectors of the community from business, education, health, government, social services, faith community, and members of the general public.”
Supports include the Community Outreach Team, in which workers meet people on the streets to direct them to services and provide emergency support. The city also runs an emergency shelter during winter months for people with drug or addiction issues who may not be permitted to use other shelters.
New this year will be the so-called “wet shelter,” a program where hard-core alcoholics can access meals and primary care, as well as alcohol on a managed basis.
The goal is to help them enter programs to combat their addictions, and to reduce stress on ER departments where they would frequently end up otherwise.
City councillors will review the report at their meeting Monday. Read the full report here.