Edmonton's 8th Homeless Count

blog action day 2008 poverty How many people are homeless in Edmonton? The last count, completed back in October 2006, found 2618 Edmontonians were homeless (the report is available in PDF). A lot has changed in the last two years however, so we need an updated number. Homeward Trust has scheduled Edmonton’s 8th Homeless Count for Tuesday, October 21st.

These counts provide information regarding our overall homeless population that organizations, agencies, and governments can use to determine best solutions for aiding the homeless and eventually ending homelessness.

The Wikipedia entry on Homelessness says that in 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless. The number in Canada is about 150,000, though the Government of Canada admits that “to date, no reliable method for counting the number of people who are homeless [has been] identified.” Even with less than accurate numbers, it’s clear that homelessness is a major problem.

Approximately 200 volunteers are required to conduct the Homeless Count here in Edmonton. Working in teams, some volunteers will participate in the street count, while others will work at drop-in centres, libraries, temporary employment agencies, and bottle depots. If you’d like to volunteer, you’ll need to attend a training session tomorrow:

A Volunteer Orientation Session will be held from 5:00 – 7:30 on Thursday, October 16, 2008, at the Stanley A. Milner Library theatre. A light supper will be provided and volunteers will receive all information necessary to complete their activities on the day of the count. Each volunteer will be asked to sign a waiver of liability form.

If you have any questions, contact Wendy Myshak at 780.944.5697 or via email.

I will be attending the session tomorrow and volunteering for the count on the 21st. Like most people who live or work downtown, my anecdotal experience suggests that homelessness has increased in Edmonton in recent years.

This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day 2008, an effort to raise awareness and initiate action on the topic of poverty. I also participated last year, when the topic was the environment.

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