In mid-October, the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) conducted its second homelessness enumeration throughout the district.
From October 18-22, 2021, the KDSB along with many community partners went through the district and performed what they call point and time counts.
After two and a half months of gathering the data KDSB Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Henry Wall was able to release the findings.
“Across the district of Kenora, those that were part of the pit count were 221 unique individuals. Breaking that down 121 individuals identified in the City of Kenora, 37 in the City of Dryden, 36 in the community of Sioux Lookout, and the other numbers are according to various communities,” said Wall.
Wall mentioned the services board wasn’t able to be in each community for long compared to their 2018 study due to the new requirements from the province allowing them to only spend one day in each city, compared to multiple days before.
The KDSB saw a big change from their 2018 study that saw 393 individuals throughout the District of Kenora identified as homeless.
Though the numbers have decreased Wall said the pit count is understated but is happy with the change he has seen over the past three years.
“We have a significant number of new housing units especially supportive housing, housing that is specifically designated to support people who are experiencing homelessness to get off the streets and into housing.”
A health approach is being taken by the KDSB to assist the vulnerable population not only to find housing but to help them overcome other challenges they are facing.
“The approach say in Kenora that we’ve had by working with our community partners, working as one that if we’re going to continue to make progress it needs to be all hands on deck.”
“We need more access to more affordable housing units, but at the same time with the housing, we do need to have those supports as well.”
Wall concluded by saying the hope of the study, conversations could be restarted regarding the infrastructure gap from addiction treatment and mental health supports in communities.
Results from the upcoming enumeration will be compared against the numbers discovered through the 2018 study and then used as a measurement of progress made, and guiding future service planning.
The enumeration will be conducted every second year to allow communities to better understand the multi-faceted and dynamically changing issues related to forms of homelessness in the Kenora District and measure collective success in ending homelessness.