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August 24 2021

Reaching Home Community Advisory Board Releases Results Of 2021 Point-In-Time Count

WHITEHORSE (August 24, 2021) – On April 13th and 14th, the Reaching Home Community Advisory Board, the Safe at Home Society, and 24 local volunteers conducted Whitehorse’s third Point-in-Time (PiT) Homeless Count. The count was funded in part by Reaching Home, the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. The count results are now available in an infographic and final report released today.

Whitehorse’s PiT Count found that at least 151 people were homeless during a 24-hour period: 5 people were unsheltered (living on the street, in vehicles, public spaces, or tents) and 38 people were emergency sheltered at one of 3 local shelters. An additional 108 individuals were provisionally accommodated in transitional housing, in a hotel/motel, staying at someone else’s place or in a public institution such as, Whitehorse Correctional Centre, Whitehorse General Hospital, or in programming at Mental Wellness & Substance Use Services. 13% of respondents experienced their housing loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

52% of survey respondents reported that they had been homeless for a full 12 months and another 17% reported being homeless between 6 and 12 months. This suggests that homelessness is chronic for many individuals. “This count really gives us a sense of how hidden our homeless population is” says Kate Mechan, Executive Director of Safe at Home Society. “The vast majority of respondents said they were couch-surfing or living in hotels or motels – these locations are often unsafe and don’t come with the same subset of supports” Mechan adds.

The report highlights that community members are facing serious affordability and discrimination issues and that just over 50% of respondents had their first experience of homelessness under the age of 20. Maury Fraser, Reaching Home Community Advisory Board member with lived experience of homelessness says, “I hope this count forces us to reflect as a community. These are more than just numbers – they are people and families with stories to share and experiences that must inform the solutions to homelessness.”

The PiT Count findings will inform the Reaching Home Community Advisory Board’s funding priorities moving forward and will complement the learnings of the Coordinated Housing Access Team (CHAT). The CHAT table is responsible for prioritizing and matching vulnerable individuals and families to housing and supports using Whitehorse’s By-Name List. This List, unlike the PiT Count, provides real time data of the number of individuals experiencing homelessness. Both data sets will fuel our ability to respond with urgency and care and move us incrementally towards ending homelessness.


Contact information:

  • Kate Mechan
    Executive Director, Safe at Home Society