Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 10, 2014 - 4:02 pm

Nunavut government to count the territory’s homeless people

Point-in-time survey will visit three communities this month

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
The GN's department of family services started its direct count of homeless Nunavummiut in Rankin Inlet Feb. 10. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
The GN's department of family services started its direct count of homeless Nunavummiut in Rankin Inlet Feb. 10. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

The Government of Nunavut will count homeless people in three Nunavut communities, starting this month.

Starting Feb. 10, employees of the GN’s Department of Family Services will visit Rankin Inlet to take stock of Nunavummiut who have do not have homes of their own, before moving on to Iqaluit and Cambridge Bay, the GN said in a Feb. 10 press release.

The point-in-time survey will include confidential and anonymous surveys with people who gain access to social services, like food banks and shelters, as well as Nunavummiut who live in makeshift homes, like tents or shacks not designed for long-term living.

“We know that homelessness is a serious issue, and we need to document the true extent of homelessness in a way that includes the voice of those directly affected,” Jeannie Ugyuk, minister of Family Services, said in the news release.

“Better policy and programming depend on both accurate data, and on understanding the problem from the point of view of communities.”

The 2010 Nunavut Housing Needs Survey estimated that about 1,200 Nunavummiut are homeless.

And territorial officials know well that Nunavut’s housing crisis is directly linked to social, economic and health issues.

The GN acknowledged as much last year when it released its framework for a long-term comprehensive housing and homelessness strategy, called Igluliuqatigiilauqta or “Let’s build a home together.”

The report suggests that between 90 and 100 new units are needed in Nunavut each year to keep up with the territory’s population growth.

Part of the framework’s goal was to increase Nunavut’s housing stock while also building transitional housing and self-reliance programs to help move Nunavummiut out of social housing and into their own homes. About 80 per cent of Nunavut’s housing is provided by government.

As part of the GN’s survey, research will also be conducted by telephone in other communities. The study will include interviews with community partners who work with homeless across Nunavut, and also with those who provide services to the homeless from gateway communities, including Yellowknife. 

The survey in Rankin Inlet will wrap up Feb. 12, before moving onto Iqaluit Feb. 17 and Cambridge Bay Feb. 24.

The GN said results of the homeless count and interviews should be available by April 2014.

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