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The Progressive Economics Forum

Enumerating Homeless Persons

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canadian attempts to count homeless persons through Point-in-Time Counts.”

Points I raise in the post include the following:

-Efforts to enumerate homeless persons in Canada often have mixed objectives.  In part, an attempt is made to capture an accurate picture of who is homeless.  But local officials often see the outcomes of these counts as ‘progress reports’ on their own work responding to homelessness.

-As a result, local officials often find themselves in conflict of interest situations.  Indeed, many want to see fewer homeless persons enumerated than during the previous count, and this may weigh into how they go about counting (methodologies can change from year to year).

-If the federal government were to fund Statistics Canada to assist with these efforts, increased methodological consistency and rigour could be brought into each count.  This could also help address the conflict of interest situation.

The link to my blog post is here.

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