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County putting together enumeration program for local homeless population

Huron County is in the process of putting together an enumeration of homeless people in the county.

Homelessness Program Supervisor, Erin Schooley, says the enumeration is limited in that it is a snap shot in time and it’s very difficult to accurately capture homelessness in a community because it is a moving target. But she says the goal is to connect with people.

“That is our goal, to connect with folks through all of the agencies that do homelessness. It’ll help us understand the scope, it’ll help us understand where we need to deliver services and, hopefully, understand better everyone’s unique journey into and how we can help them get out of homelessness.”

Schooley adds the enumeration is a Provincially required document. But says the second part of the county’s project is to offer homeless people to opportunity to register onto a by-name list.

“So our by-name list is our chance to understand who’s out there and have a general sense of how we can reach them and also help being to pull them towards our coordinated access program, where we’re helping them with their search for housing and then matching them with the appropriate supports, as we’re able.”

Schooley adds, something as simple as knowing their first name makes it much easier to start a conversation.

“How often do we walk past somebody. We might turn our head away because we feel uncomfortable or we’re anxious around the behaviour we’re seeing and so, if we know them by name, we can say, hello, to whoever they are, by their first name, help them feel welcome in their community and then also help them to build that trust.”

She points out, it’s important that they know you’re trying to find solutions with them, not for them.

Schooley says if they don’t know who’s out there and who’s struggling, those people who need help can just disappear into the woodwork. She says they want to be more proactive and that also helps them keep track of who’s moving into and out of the area better.
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