Fraser Fyfe-Wilson and Diana Gibson believe the Point in Time Count will help bring awareness to the issue of homelessness in Victoria. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Greater Victoria homelessness count only sees ‘tip of the iceberg’

The count aims to identify driving forces, gaps in services and raise awareness

More than 170 volunteers throughout Greater Victoria took part in the 2020 Point-in-Time Count on Thursday, attending shelters, transitions houses and walking the streets surveying people and trying to understand the main driving factors behind homelessness.

Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, says that while much care has been put into locating members of the homeless population this is not a complete picture of the issue in the region.

“We know that this is sort of just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a bigger population of homeless people living in situations of housing that aren’t stable, aren’t reliable but they aren’t on the street participating in the survey,” she says.

READ ALSO: One in two homeless people have suffered a traumatic brain injury: UBC study

The survey is done every two years across the country and is funded through the federal government’s Reaching Home Strategy. The last survey conducted in Greater Victoria identified over 1,500 people without stable housing living in the CRD. According to Gibson, hidden homelessness can look like couch surfing, living in vehicles, large numbers of people living in small homes — “what it really means is you don’t have a reliable place to stay that’s yours.”

Fraser Fyfe-Wilson, a volunteer, became a member of the hidden homeless population when his rent suddenly jumped $500 and he was forced into transitional housing.

“It just blows my mind that I’m working … making good money and I’m not able to afford a place,” he says. “… I’ve had to go through university and maintain a steady job, but not necessarily always have a place.”

READ ALSO: Victoria, Abbotsford record biggest jumps in rent prices nationwide: report

The last survey found that the two biggest drivers of homelessness were income and employment, says Gibson, either a person can’t find work or their income is not high enough to afford to live in the city.

“We know people who are sleeping on mats at shelter who are homeless and working full time,” says Gibson.

Fyfe-Wilson believes it’s important for the world to see how serious this problem is.

“It’s not just me that went through it, like everybody does — I was walking along Dallas road putting up posters and almost every second car had somebody sleeping in the back seat, just sleeping,” he says.

The results of PiT Count will be analyzed and released in a report that will help with public awareness and identifying the driving forces behind homelessness, along with gaps in services.

For Fyfe-Wilson, who now has been able to secure an apartment with his brother, he wants to see a shift in the situation here in Victoria.

“People 30 years ago, could work at Home Hardware and put a down payment on a house. Now we’ve got people working government jobs sleeping in their car because they can’t afford rent at an apartment — it doesn’t make sense.”

Preliminary results of the number of surveys completed will be available on March 27, with the final report being released later on in the spring.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fraser Fyfe-Wilson chats with other volunteers about the day’s work. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Just Posted

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

Police asking public to register bikes with them in case lost or stolen

Saanich makes ALC appeal for Prospect Lake Elementary parking, portables

Council votes in favour of seeking non-farm use designation

Island Health issues Victoria overdose advisory

Health authority warns of increase in overdoses from opioids and stimulants

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read