On October 19, the growing number of homeless people in Chatham-Kent will be counted.
Chatham-Kent Chief Executive Officer Don Shropshire said the problem has been exacerbated by COVID-19, causing numbers to quadruple, rising from about 75 to an estimated 325.
Shropshire said there’s “no question” that more people are in need of housing than ever before.
“There’s definitely been an increase,” Shropshire told a recent media scrum, adding most of people who require assistance are born and raised in Chatham-Kent.
Contrary to some reports, the CAO said most of people needing help are local, although there may be a small number of people from out of town.
Shropshire said COVID-19 safety issues forced people who were living with families and friends to seek alternative living arrangements, sometimes putting them on the street.
The municipality will undertake a “point in time” enumeration of local people and families existing without a roof over their heads.
Chatham-Kent Employment and Social Services will partner with Hope Haven, ROCK Missions, the Women’s Centre and Ska:Na Family Learning Centre to complete the assessment.
It will count both sheltered and unsheltered homeless people.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, CKESS has helped 365 households secure long-term housing.
The province has advised the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing it will introduce “by name” lists and in order to support this, organizations must complete an enumeration of homeless in their area by Dec. 15.
If you know someone who is experiencing homelessness direct them to the response line at 519-354-6628.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice