(Black Press file photo).

Those experiencing homelessness in Kelowna increases from 2018

A point-in-time count conducted in March shows a jump of four per cent in homeless population

At least 297 people were experiencing homelessness in Kelowna as of a March 10, according to a point-in-time count.

The new 2020 numbers show an increase of four per cent since 2018, where 286 people were counted as experiencing homelessness. To carry out the count the Central Okanagan Foundation worked in partnership with 23 community organizations, including the point-in-time (PiT) Count Steering Committee, to develop a community strategy.

Kelowna’s count was scheduled for early March, however, other communities across Canada decided to defer the count to 2021, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the PIT count, 89 per cent of those experiencing homelessness were between the ages of 25 and 64 years old while six per cent were between 15 and 24 years old, two per cent were younger than 14 and three per cent were older than 65.

One in five people, or 23 per cent, were counted who identify as Indigenous or had indigenous ancestry.

Those who were homeless for six months or more within the past year were counted as chronically homeless at 72 per cent of the 297 people. Those considered episodically homeless or experienced three or more episodes of homelessness within the last year accounted for 11 per cent.

Of those counted, 84 per cent indicated they had stayed in an emergency shelter in the last year.

There were an additional 335 individuals counted who were living in temporary system-supported housing.

The average days people in Kelowna experienced homelessness increased year over year, according to the Central Okanagan Foundation.

In 2016 the average days people found themselves to be homeless was 192, in 2018 the average days were counted at 241 and in 2020 the days increased to 267.

The top reasons for housing loss were:

  • Household conflict
  • Not enough income for housing
  • Substance use issues
  • Conflict with landlord
  • Illness or medical condition

With a population of approximately 142,146 residents, Kelowna’s primary rental vacancy rate was estimated at 1.9 per cent in fall 2018, which was significantly lower than the Canadian average rate of 2.4 per cent.

The Kelowna PiT count is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. Reaching Home provided support to over 60 communities across Canada to conduct a coordinated PiT Count of the homeless population.

It is estimated that 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year.

READ MORE: Province to count Okanagan’s homeless


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Water shutdown to impact Penticton residents near Naramata Road

The city will shut off water for three hours to make improvements to the system

Ryga Arts Festival to include live events

Arts festival in Summerland will feature live and online performances

City of Penticton seeking input of future transportation plans

City planners aim to balance traditional and modern modes of transport in future

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read