The Social Planning Council of North Okanagan has provided a snapshot as to who is living on the streets of Vernon.
The council’s Partners in Action committee conducts a homeless census and survey in the fall, something they’ve done the last three years.
The 2018 census showed 161 people living without homes in Vernon, up from 153 in the fall of 2017.
“Only 30 per cent of people who were considered to be homeless took part in the survey,” said Social Planning Council executive director Annette Sharkey during a presentation to Vernon council Tuesday.
“The participation rate for the 2016 and 2017 fall surveys was closer to 40 per cent.”
According to this year’s survey:
* 65 per cent of people without homes were male; 31 per cent were female; four per cent indicated transgender/other;
* The average age for sleeping outside was 43 years (men) and 34 years (women);
* Average age in the shelters was 47 (men and women);
* 30 per cent of respondents indicated they’d been in the foster care system;
* 34 per cent identified as aboriginal or having indigenous ancestry;
* 13 per cent identified with the LGBTQ community;
* 11 per cent indicated they’d served in the military;
* 38 per cent said they lived in Vernon for less than one year (the majority have lived in Vernon for more than a year);
* 50 per cent indicated they grew up in Vernon or had family connections in the city.
“The demographics are comparable with national averages, with the majority of people who are homeless being men, and at least one-third having been in foster care,” said Sharkey. “In addition, indigenous people are over-represented due to the ongoing impact of trauma related to residential schools and the residual effects of colonization.”
The Social Planning Council and City of Vernon have hired Urban Matters to review the homelessness and attainable housing strategies. Interviews with key stakeholders took place over the summer. A workshop is slated for December to provide input as to “what’s next for Vernon.”