Across Canada, there is growing awareness of the significant differences between youth and adult homelessness. Kamloops has conducted an annual Point in Time (PIT) Count for years. A PIT Count is a snapshot of how many people are visibly homeless on the street or shelter system on a single morning every year. However, youth are less likely to use homelessness services and, because they may be transient and pursue survival strategies to remain hidden, they may be less visible than adults experiencing homelessness.
Research has shown that young people are twice as likely as adults to be part of the “hidden homeless” population. Youth may also have a greater degree of fear or mistrust of authorities. For all these reasons, traditional PIT counts are limited in their ability to accurately capture numbers of youth experiencing homelessness. Youth homelessness is unique, and we require youth-focused strategies to identify those experiencing homelessness. A Way Home built on the traditional PIT count by applying youth-specific methodologies to identify young people experiencing homelessness.
The 2016 Kamloops Youth Homelessness Count was conducted by the A Way Home committee, a collective of 120 professionals from diverse sectors, including business, non-profit, government, health, and Aboriginal agencies. This committee was established to implement A Way Home: A Plan to End Homelessness in Kamloops. An annual youth homelessness count is critical in measuring progress toward ending youth homelessness in Kamloops.