I count MTL 2018

Why are you doing a second count?

If we are going to act effectively in such complex situations we need to be familiar with the different aspects of homelessness and how they change over time. That is why we carried out a second count in Montreal on April 24th 2018. It was part of a larger initiative to produce a second portrait of homelessness in Quebec under the auspices of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS).

I count MTL 2015

The City of Montreal funded a first count of the visibly homeless in 2015, known as I count MTL 2015. From over 1,500 questionnaires that were answered between March 24 and March 26 2015 we were able to determine numbers and describe the people affected.

Some 700 volunteers took part, covering much of the Montreal territory and involving over 150 organizations.

I count MTL 2018

I count MTL 2018 is part of a federal government initiative to carry out a coordinated Canada-wide count (Everyone counts 2018) between March 1 and April 30 2018. It will help Canadian communities measure their progress in the fight to end homelessness and provide a better understanding of the phenomenon.

In August 2017 the governments of Canada and Quebec signed an agreement to include the 11 Quebec communities – including Montreal – in the process. Close to 60 communities across the country took part in this coordinated count. The main methodological steps have been standardized, there is some latitude for communities to adapt to local realities.
In the other provinces each community is responsible for its own count, acting under a direct agreement with the federal government. But Quebec was different, coordinating the count in 11 designated communities to streamline the process, the entry and the analysis of data. Quebec’s approach is a first for Canada – and indeed for the world.
The City of Montreal and the CIUSSS-du-Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal are working together on the Montreal segment. I count MTL 2018 was carried out with the support and expertise of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre in close collaboration with the Movement to End Homelessness in Montreal (MMFIM). We will be able to compare the 2018 results with the 2015 results.

What is a point-in-time count?

A point-in-time count is a way of measuring the visible homelessness in a community at a given time. There are two main goals:

  1. Count the visibly homeless – determine the number of visibly homeless people on the day of the count; the data will be used to track the growth of the homelessness phenomenon and measure the progress of initiatives to combat it.
  2. Collect demographic information about the visibly homeless – the questionnaires provide invaluable data on both the demographics and the needs for services.

Point-in-time counts do not:

  • count everyone who has been homeless in a community over time. By focusing on a single day, the count will not cover some people who float in and out of the homelessness cycle
  • count the hidden homeless (such as people who were living temporarily with others)

How does it work?

Our intention is to count and obtain data on people who are visibly homeless, either in outdoor locations or in the resources and organizations where they may find shelter.

  1. The unsheltered homeless
    Public spaces (parks, streets) or private spaces without permission (ATMs, transit stations, overpasses, bus shelters) or places not intended for human habitation (abandoned buildings, cars).
  1. People in emergency shelters
    Emergency overnight shelters for the homeless and shelters for individuals and families impacted by violence.
  2. Individuals with no fixed address
    Provisional accommodation in transition housing: shelters/resources for new immigrants and refugees; therapy centres; crisis centres; police detention centres; people receiving institutional care (hospitals, rehabilitation centres, detention).

The second portrait of homelessness in Quebec

The 2018 count is part of a larger MSSS initiative to complete a second portrait of homelessness in Quebec, which should give the decision makers  and stakeholders solid data on which to base their future actions. It has four goals:

  1. Increase understanding of the phenomenon (extent, locations, characteristics and histories of homeless people, associated risk factors)
  2. Track its evolution over time (comparisons with some of the data from the 2014 portrait and development of indicators and tracking mechanisms)
  3. Document the use of services by homeless people
  4. Help set priorities for action to meet local needs

This second portrait will give us a finer understanding of homeless people and those in risk of becoming homeless, taking all the complexities of the phenomenon into account.

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