Provincially, the number of homeless people in Alberta is down since six years ago, but Grande Prairie has seen an increase.
189 people were counted in four hours on October 23rd – 30 per cent of which were sleeping on the street and the other 70 in the emergency shelter.
While we’ve seen a large increase over the 122 people counted in 2008, Community Homeless Initiative Supervisor Katherine Sheppard explains the methodology changed, and the city has undergone significant population growth.
However, the numbers can still give them a better idea of the current situation.
“The immigrant population is showing up at a higher rate in our homeless population; we’re seeing 42 per cent in Grande Prairie from that point in time count were Aboriginal, so I think some of that data is what we’re going to start drilling down and looking at.”
Also noteworthy is that 26 people were found that have no shelter at all.
“So I think knowing that, we can start saying how do we co-ordinate services a bit better and ensure that every single person in our city has the opportunity to move off the streets, out of shelters, and into homes.”
Sheppard also notes that a quarter of those surveyed were under the age of 24, which she partially attributes to the region’s growing economy and people coming here for work.