The Number of Homeless People In Windsor-Essex Is Down Slightly Finds Survey

Although the number of homeless people in Windsor-Essex is down slightly, local stakeholders aren't easing up on their efforts to combat the problem.

Back in April, about 200 volunteers took to the streets to count the number of people living on the streets and found on any given day, 197 people were homeless which is down 2% compared to 2016.

The preliminary results of the 'Point In Time Count' were released Wednesday.

The majority of the homeless, 53% are between the ages of 25 and 49 and the main causes of homelessness area being unable to pay rent, conflict with spouse, addictions or substance use, or job loss.

"More work needs to be done," concludes Jelena Payne, Windsor's commissioner of community development and health services who finds no comfort in the fact the figures are down. "A tremendous amount of work has happened over the last two years, it is important for the community to know that this data collection and information gathering is critical."

She says although some people may be seeing more panhandling, it doesn't necessarily mean they are homeless.

"Often times visually what they see on the streets and in our community is not actually a reflection of homelessness but a reflection of poverty and low income."

Executive Director of the Windsor Homes Coalition Angela Yakonich says the results are just a snapshot of the issue.

"We do know that we can not address every couch surfer, we can't address everybody who may not have been in those areas where we were surveying at that time or people who didn't access the agencies who were conducting the count as well."

As part of the survey,  a list will be created prioritizing people who are experiencing chronic homelessness and how to connect them to the appropriate supports and services.

The Windsor Homes Coalition pointed out the biggest obstacle for people who are homeless is navigating the system.