Wendy Fontaine, left, Dustin Westerman and Coral Quon were three of many people who helped conduct a homeless count in Williams Lake on Tuesday, March 10. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Wendy Fontaine, left, Dustin Westerman and Coral Quon were three of many people who helped conduct a homeless count in Williams Lake on Tuesday, March 10. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Volunteers help with homeless count

“For a cold and windy day it was a good count, I think”

One of the organizers of a homeless count in Williams Lake March 10 said it went well.

Sitting in Boitanio Park at the end of the day where local musicians were performing and volunteers were on standby to hand out fresh baking and refreshments, Dustin Westerman of the Cariboo Friendship Society said he had lots of great volunteers helping throughout the day.

Volunteers and people from various agencies in Williams Lake helped by doing surveys with homeless people.

Westerman confirmed they were stationed at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus, Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Salvation Army, The Longhouse, Cariboo Friendship Society and Lake City Secondary School Campus.

There were also some volunteers doing five different walking routes near the Stampede Grounds, Boitanio Park, Glendale, McDonalds and the downtown core to try and connect with as many people as possible.

Read more: Homeless count taking place March 10 in Williams Lake

“For a cold and windy day it was a good count, I think,” Westerman said.

Red Tomato Pies donated 20 pizzas for the day to hand out to people taking the surveys, he added.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction said the provincial government will release the 2020 report on homeless counts in the fall of 2020.

Results will be used to help inform the government and communities of the demographics of homelessness, the main barriers faced by those experiencing or at risk of it, and how to better support them.

“They help both the province and municipal governments create better service and supports, measure progress in addressing homelessness, and increase public awareness,” the spokesperson noted.

Every community that is conducting homeless counts is using the same survey questions to ensure that data collected is more easily aggregated and comparable across B.C.



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