Count finds 100 people living without a home in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Count finds 100 people living without a home in Kamloops

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November 18, 2016 - 4:38 PM

KAMLOOPS - In Kamloops there are about 100 homeless people, according to recently completed survey.

Volunteers with a point-in-time count conducted the survey on the streets of the city Oct. 13. The 100 people who said they were homeless were couch surfing, staying at community shelters or sleeping in parks or alleys. The count coordinator, Brad Serl, says that number is "fairly average" for Kamloops, but does follow a worrying trend.

“The number of people who identify as being homeless is still going up,” he says. “We’re not having as much success as we would like."

The count, done over a short period of time to create a snapshot of the city’s homeless population, caught some consistencies. Almost three quarters of the homeless population are men, 75 per cent have been in Kamloops for more than a year and housing affordability is the most common reason a person winds up homeless.

The most worrying statistic Serl saw was how young the oldest people were. The oldest male spoken to was 64 and the oldest woman was 55, and Serl thinks this could point to a hugely decreased average life-span for the province’s homeless population, but cautions that Kamloops is a small sample size.

“The average life expectancy for men is 80 and 84 for women, and we were 15 years shy on that for men, and 30 years shy on that for women," he says. “If other homeless counts that are done start coming up with findings that are similar to this we can start triangulating.”

Income issues were paired with housing affordability, with welfare and disability assistance the main source of income for 82 per cent of the survey’s respondents. With housing stipends of $375 Serl points out that in Kamloops, that’s often not enough to make ends meet.

“The minimum price for housing was $750,” he says. “Most places are $800 and above.”

The count did not include youth. A second report is being produced to look specifically at the city’s homeless youth population.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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