Since 2002, the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (RSCH) has conducted a region-wide count of homeless individuals every three years. The most recent count was in 2020, which included both a Point in Time (PiT) and 6 day trial extended count. The main purpose of the homeless count is to enumerate and learn more about the homeless population in the Metro Vancouver region. Specific objectives include:
- Estimating the number of people who are homeless;
- Obtaining a demographic profile of people who are surveyed or enumerated during the count; and
- Identifying long-term trends in the number and profile of people who are homeless.
Though the count has many limitations, as this methodology only includes ‘visibly’ homeless individuals, it provides baseline information for service providers, planners, community groups, health authorities, and municipalities and funders to use count data to assist in policy development, planning, and prioritizing programs and services to address the needs of people who are homeless. The count is also used for public education and to increase awareness about homelessness.