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Collaborative Research on Homelessness in Thompson, Manitoba

March 2, 2015 — 

On Tuesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 4, faculty members Dr. Marleny Bonnycastle and Colin Bonnycastle from the Northern Social Work Program, University of Manitoba and Dr. Maureen Simpkins and Mark Matiasek from the Faculty of Arts, Business and Science, University College of the North, will be coordinating the Point-In-Time Homeless Count in Thompson.

What is a Point-In-Time Count?
A point-in-time (PIT) count is a strategy used to help determine the extent of homelessness in a community on a given night, or at a single point-in-time. It captures numbers and basic demographics of people staying in emergency shelters, short-term supportive housing, jails, and hospitals as well as on the street. Over the last number of years, PIT counts have been conducted in a number of Canadian cities. This will be the first PIT count in Thompson and will include volunteers such as homeless people, students, staff from agencies and community members over a 24-hour period.

A PIT count is a critical part of a community’s response to homelessness as it provides a baseline of important information upon which to build a local strategy to end homelessness. The PIT count will not only provide numbers but also other vital information for the City of Thompson as well as research on homelessness that is currently being undertaken by Dr. Bonnycastle and Dr. Simpkins. The benefits of conducting a PIT count include:

  • enabling communities to measure progress in reducing homelessness;
  • increasing the community’s ability to take action towards ending homelessness by improving and understanding characteristics of the local population;
  • increasing the capacity to undertake a local needs assessment, contributing to the measurement and progress toward ending homelessness over time; and
  • increasing public awareness of homelessness.

The Thompson PIT Homeless Count will be conducted in agencies and shelters housing homeless on the evening of March 3rd, the morning of March 4th, and on the streets of Thompson during the day on March 4th. We are currently working with the Thompson Homeless Shelter (THS), the Project Northern Doorway (PND), Men Are Part of the Solution (MAPS), Thompson Crisis Centre (TCC), YWCA, Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, RCMP cells, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM), and other places where chronically or episodically homeless people might be.

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