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Calgary Homeless Foundation raises concerns over feds counting plan

The head of the Calgary Homeless Foundation said while she’s supportive of the federal government’s plan for a national count of homeless people, there’s several problems with the Liberal plan.

On Wednesday, the government announced it was going ahead with its nationally co-ordinated count of homeless people later this month, despite municipalities claiming it could lead to inaccurate results.

The CHF’s CEO Diane Krecsy said it takes a ton of different agencies and groups to do an appropriate count.

“It’s not just financial, it’s community engagement, it’s the right volunteers in place,” she said. “During the winter months, many people who are homeless will not go to shelters, one because shelters become full from the people who are there coming in from the cold, but they choose other alternatives ways to temporarily house themselves.”

Those ways can include staying in an unheated car, a dumpster, couchsurfing or women putting themselves in exploitative temporary housing.

“Those vulnerable populations are at a high risk of not being counted in the winter,” she said.

Krecsy said based on years of experience, the better time to count is October when it starts to get a little colder, but they can still accurately measure family homelessness trends, which peak in the summer and fall months.

“If you really want to learn about the country and base yourself on evidence-based practice that’s been occurring, then continue to fund Alberta’s communities in October to do a count that will give us the best results from back-to-back counts,” she said.