August 06, 2016 - 6:00 AM
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops shelter is joining a federal database to help track trends in homelessness.
The Homeless Individuals and Families Information System, or HIFIS, is a database to help track trends in Canada’s transient and homeless population. It should be coming to Kamloops’s Emerald Centre in the new year, according to Christa Mullaly, the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kamloops.
“HIFIS was launched a few years ago,” she says. “It’s been kind of spotty who uses it.”
The database will help collect information about what is happening in regards to homelessness and will allow a more efficient use of funds. The Emerald Centre receives funding through B.C. Housing, a provincial program to help provide shelter. Mullaly says the centre’s participation in the database is part of a move by B.C. Housing.
“All of the data that’s collected at each site that uses HIFIS will be fed into a larger database,” Mullaly says.
This will allow for a national view on how occupancy rates might change, or what services are being used in different locations. The data collected will then help inform the federal governments Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Local organizations typically already collect information about the people who use their services, but aren't necessarily part of a larger system.
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