There are at least 328 individuals experiencing homelessness in the City of Grande Prairie, according to the latest Point in Time (PiT) report. 

The city performed the report in September as part of its bi-annual count to capture current information on its homeless population. 

“Addressing housing and homelessness needs are integral for the inclusive and caring community we want to support in Grande Prairie,” said Mayor Jackie Clayton.

The PiT count provides the city with a look at how many people are experiencing homelessness in the city and how homelessness is changing over time. 

The first PiT count in Grande Prairie was performed in 2006; the homeless population was 179 in 2006 and has grown 83 per cent since then. The report notes that reporting methods have changed since 2006, and year-over-year comparisons should be reviewed in context, says the report. 

The last PiT was performed in 2018 and found the homeless population to be 228. The 2018 PiT was completed in three hours in April 2018, compared to the 2022 PiT, which took nine hours in September 2022.

The report says 75 per cent of the surveyed were experiencing chronic homelessness or have been homeless for more than 180 days in the last year. 

The largest age group experiencing homelessness in Grande Prairie was between 25 and 44 years old, which made up 65 percent of those surveyed. The next highest age group experiencing homelessness was aged 45 to 64 years at 26 per cent.

The report does not include youth under the age of 18 in the survey’s demographics, but 23 youth under the age of 24 were reported to be experiencing homelessness according to the report. 

The report also says 66 per cent of respondents reported two or more health issues, while 51 per cent indicated they have mental health issues. 

On the day of the count, 124 people visited emergency shelters, including Wapiti House and Sunrise house, and 43 people were at domestic violence shelters.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 06, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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