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Guidelines for Service Manager Homeless Enumeration

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Scope of the Guidelines
Context
Objectives
Principles
Roles and Responsibilities
   The Province
   The Service Manager
Enumeration Requirements
   Enumeration Plans
   Enumeration Methods
      Point-in-Time (PiT) Count
      Registry Week
      Period Prevalence Count (PPC)
      Capturing Hidden Homelessness
      Using and Combining Different Enumeration Methods
      Using Enumeration Methods Over Time
      Emerging Enumeration Methods
   Timing
   Frequency
   Reporting
      Required Data Points
      Additional Data Points
      Timelines for Reporting
      Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data
      Data Quality
   Sharing Information with the Public
Enumeration Standards
   Standard 1: Scope of Enumeration
   Standard 2: Core Set of Common Questions
   Standard 3: Coverage within Service Manager Areas
      Selecting a Sample
      Determining the Number of Municipalities to Select
   Standard 4: Coverage within Selected Municipalities
   Standard 5: De-Duplication
Considerations for Engagement
   Engaging with Indigenous Communities
   Engaging with Community Partners
   Volunteer Training and Recruitment
   People-Centred Approach
Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) Funding for Homeless Enumeration
   Enumeration Costs
Other Resources
Data Definitions
Ministry of Housing Contacts
   Municipal Services Offices
Appendix A – Enumeration Plan Template
Appendix B – Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data
Appendix C – Core Set of Common Questions

Acknowledgements

The Ministry of Housing would like to thank the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness for setting the foundation for homeless enumeration in Ontario. 
The ministry would also like to acknowledge and thank the following people and organizations for their guidance, support, input, and thoughtful feedback during the development of these guidelines and the Province’s homeless enumeration approach:

Service Manager Homeless Enumeration Advisory Group

Amanda DiFalco, City of Hamilton
Michael Jacek, Association of Municipalities of Ontario
Nancy Lennox, Regional Municipality of York
Brian Marks, District of Cochrane Social Services Administration Board
Debbie Mills, District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board
Marie Morrison, Regional Municipality of Waterloo
Aaron Park, District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
Laural Raine, City of Toronto
Jan Richardson, City of London
Carmela Ruberto, County of Hastings
Anne Marie Shaw, County of Grey
Shelley VanBuskirk, City of Ottawa
Petra Wolfbeiss, formerly with Ontario Municipal Social Services Association

The Indigenous Housing Strategy Engagement Table

Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation
Métis Nation of Ontario
Miziwe Biik Development Corporation
Nishnawbe Homes
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
Ontario Native Women’s Association

Others

Michael Creek, Working for Change
Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, Western University
Dr. Stephen Gaetz, York University, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
Dr. Patrick Hunter, Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada
Dr. Stephen Hwang, St. Michael’s Hospital
Tim Richter, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
Dr. Mark Speechley, Western University

Introduction

As part of the Province’s efforts to end chronic homelessness by 2025 and the long-term goal to end homelessness, the Ontario Ministry of Housing (MHO; the ministry) is introducing a provincial requirement to conduct local enumeration of people experiencing homelessness. Through an amendment to the Housing Services Act, 2011 (HSA) and the attached Ministerial Directive, the Province requires all Service Managers  to conduct enumeration of those experiencing homelessness in their communities. Local homeless enumeration, which is the measurement of the number of people experiencing homelessness over a specific period of time, will help Service Managers and the ministry better understand the scale and nature of homelessness across the province, as well as inform current and future policy and program design.

Scope of the Guidelines

These guidelines are a supplement to the Ministerial Directive, which sets out the mandatory requirements of the Province’s homeless enumeration approach. These guidelines provide further details on the requirements and standards for conducting homeless enumeration at the local level; they are designed to assist Service Managers with undertaking homeless enumeration in their communities.
The ministry recognizes that enumeration may evolve over time as a result of research, consultations, and Service Manager feedback. As such, the ministry may update the Ministerial Directive and the guidelines on an as-needed basis and will communicate any updates to Service Managers.

Context

As part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential (2014-2019), the Province established a bold, long-term goal to end homelessness and committed the government to seek advice to achieve this goal.  As a first step, in 2015, the Province established the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness to provide recommendations on how to:

  • Define and measure homelessness; 
  • How to prioritize and set targets for ending homelessness; and 
  • How best to expand the evidence base and build capacity to address homelessness.

In response to the Panel’s October 2015 report, A Place to Call Home, the Province committed to a number of immediate and long-term actions. These included:

  • Committing to end chronic homelessness by 2025; 
  • Adopting four provincial priorities to guide action: chronic, youth, and Indigenous homelessness, and homelessness following transitions from provincially-funded institutions and service systems; and  
  • Planning to require local enumeration to gather data about homelessness.

In 2016, the Province released the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS) Update, which further supports the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025, and charts a bold, coordinated, and progressive course towards housing policy and programs that are relevant to current realities and reflect new research and best practices. Guided by the vision that “every person has an affordable, suitable and adequate home to provide the foundation to secure employment, raise a family, and build strong communities,” the LTAHS Update has two overarching outcomes: decreasing the number of people who are homeless; and increasing the number of households achieving housing stability.

As part of this commitment, the Province has amended the Housing Services Act, 2011 to require Service Managers to conduct local homeless enumeration.

Objectives

Recognizing the value of strong, reliable and consistent data to inform policy, programs and services at both the provincial and Service Manager levels, the objectives of local homeless enumeration are:

  • To provide a snapshot of homelessness, including information on the scope and nature of homelessness in communities across Ontario.
  • To provide a mechanism for tracking progress and trends, including:
    • Establishing a baseline sample that can be used to track progress in reducing homelessness and chronic homelessness over time.
    • Enabling provincial reporting on the problem of homelessness.
    • Providing data that Service Managers can use to monitor the impact of local strategies and initiatives.
  • To provide information to drive change, spur innovation and enable continuous improvement. Data gathered through enumeration can provide information about whether programs and initiatives are having the desired impact on homelessness.

Principles 

The Province’s approach to homeless enumeration is guided by the following principles:

Outcomes-Focused:

Enumeration will drive progress towards achieving the provincial goal of ending homelessness and ending chronic homelessness by 2025. It will provide information about the impact of the homelessness services system on community homelessness over time, in general and among subgroups that have been prioritized for action.

People-Centred:

People, and their experiences and stories, are vital to conducting enumeration. A people-centred approach should be taken in all aspects of enumeration, including planning, volunteer training, implementation, and communicating the results of enumeration to promote safety, including cultural safety, and culturally appropriate responses and practices for those who participate in enumeration.

Partnership and Relationship Building: 

Addressing homelessness requires collaboration and a strong partnership between all levels of government, Indigenous organizations and communities, service providers, people with lived experience, a wide range of community organizations (e.g., Social Planning Councils, Chambers of Commerce and Business Improvement Areas), and provincial systems such as health, corrections, and education. 

As such, Service Managers are strongly encouraged to build relationships and engage partners to select, develop and implement their enumeration approach. Through this process, the Province aims to bring diverse stakeholders together, foster relationships, strengthen local capacity, spur innovation, and stimulate local efforts to address, prevent, and end homelessness.

Comparability: 

Although three different methods of enumeration will be used across the province to enumerate homelessness, data collected through homeless enumeration should be comparable across different methods, as well as over time. Comparability will allow the Province to summarize information across Service Manager areas to create a provincial baseline. 

Local enumeration is designed to be a process not a single event.  The use of consistent definitions, data elements and enumeration methods will provide the basis for tracking progress over time.

Rigorous Approach: 

Validated and broadly accepted methods will be used when conducting local homeless enumeration. The Province supports enumeration methods that:

  • Have been established and/or expertly validated;
  • Have been used in jurisdictions in Ontario or more broadly; and
  • Have been endorsed by credible organizations and/or other levels of government. 

Balance: 

Province-wide enumeration balances the needs and capacity of Service Managers with provincial priorities and commitments. 

Local Flexibility: 

Recognizing the unique nature of municipalities, the Province’s approach supports local flexibility by providing Service Managers with the option to choose the enumeration method that works best for the municipalities in their area (e.g., rural, urban, northern, geographic size / remoteness), as well as the flexibility to decide which municipalities will be enumerated.

Building on Success: 

The Province recognizes that many municipalities across Ontario have already undertaken enumeration activities and have developed a high degree of local capacity in this area. The Province’s approach will leverage and build upon this existing expertise, as well as the resources from methods that have already been tested.  

Roles and Responsibilities 

Both the Province and Service Managers have specific roles and responsibilities in regard to undertaking local homeless enumeration.

The Province

  • Establishing the local homeless enumeration framework, including endorsed methods, timelines, and guidelines.
  • Assisting with the development and review of Service Manager Enumeration Plans.
  • Providing support to Service Managers during enumeration.
  • Conducting analysis of enumeration data and using the data to inform future policy and program development.
  • Sharing aggregate enumeration data with Service Managers and other housing and homelessness stakeholders.
  • Coordinating with ministries responsible for provincial systems that interact with people experiencing homelessness to provide awareness and support regarding the province’s homeless enumeration approach.

The Service Manager

  • Engaging in planning activities, including staff and volunteer training, related to enumeration.
  • Partnering and building relationships with Indigenous communities, homeless-serving agencies, service providers, and other stakeholders to develop their enumeration approach.
  • Developing and submitting an Enumeration Plan.
  • Conducting enumeration as described in the Ministerial Directive and these guidelines. 
  • Reporting enumeration results and data points to the Ministry of Housing.
  • Sharing enumeration results with the public, the communities involved in enumeration, and those that participate in enumeration.

Enumeration Requirements

Enumeration Plans

Service Managers are expected to complete and submit an Enumeration Plan that outlines how they plan to conduct homeless enumeration in their Service Manager area.  Enumeration Plans will help the ministry ensure that there is rigour in the data collected and provide a baseline of how and where enumeration will be conducted across the province.

Plans are to be submitted to the ministry prior to a Service Manager undertaking local homeless enumeration. 

  • Enumeration Plans should be approved by a delegated Service Manager authority (e.g., Director-level). Council and / or Board approval is not required by the ministry.
  • Enumeration Plans are due to the ministry no later than six (6) months before conducting an enumeration.  
  • Service Managers are expected to submit an Enumeration Plan every two years starting in 2017. Please refer to the Timing and Frequency sections of these guidelines for further information. 
  • Service Managers are required to use the ministry’s Enumeration Plan Template when completing their plan. The Enumeration Plan Template is included in these guidelines as Appendix A.

The ministry will review all Enumeration Plans and may provide feedback as required. Ministry staff members are available to work with Service Managers as they develop their plans. 

This process will provide information on the scope of municipalities being enumerated across the Province; the enumeration methods being used; and how enumeration will be implemented across Service Manager regions.  

Enumeration Methods

Service Managers are required to conduct local homeless enumeration using any of the following three enumeration methods: Point-in-Time (PiT) Count, Registry Week, and Period Prevalence Count (PPC).  

Point-in-Time (PiT) Count

The Point-in-Time (PiT) Count provides a snapshot of the population experiencing homelessness on one day of the year. It is intended to capture numbers, basic demographics, reasons for homelessness, and service use of people experiencing homelessness at a single point in time.

This method counts unsheltered and emergency-sheltered populations.  PiT Count data is collected by trained volunteer canvassers who physically locate, count, and collect survey data from people experiencing homelessness. Surveys are also carried out at emergency shelters, violence against women (VAW) shelters, service organizations, and magnet events. 

As this method provides information for a single point in time, it is not intended to be a measure of everyone who experiences homelessness in a community over time and will not include some people who cycle in and out of homelessness.  In addition, as this method focusses on unsheltered and emergency-sheltered populations, this method is not intended to provide a count of people experiencing hidden homelessness (e.g., people who are staying with friends or “couch surfing”).

The Province endorses the PiT Count methods developed by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) and the City of Toronto. 


Spotlight: Urban Kingston Point-in-Time Count

Kingston used a number of techniques during their Point-in-Time count in an attempt to identify and prioritize survey areas in order to find people experiencing homelessness in their city. For example, the United Way worked with the City of Kingston housing staff to prioritize all neighbourhoods based on the density of the known population of people experiencing homelessness (i.e., high priority [5+ individuals], medium priority [2-4 individuals], and low priority [0-1 individuals]). 

Police, shelter staff, and social service agencies were also engaged to identify specific “hot spots” such as camp sites, abandoned buildings, and forested areas where people experiencing homelessness are known to frequent in their community. Special teams were assigned to survey these areas, which included a police officer and front-line service providers.

Additionally, volunteers were instructed to engage with everyone encountered, regardless of appearance, using questions from a screening tool to determine whether or not the person they were interviewing was experiencing homelessness.


Registry Week

The Registry Week method is a coordinated, multi-day count of people experiencing homelessness on the streets, in shelters, and in other community-identified spaces frequented by people experiencing homelessness.

It also involves a coordinated outreach and assessment process to collect information and create a list of people experiencing homelessness, by name, starting with the most vulnerable, in order to prioritize access to permanent housing and supports. 

Volunteers administer a survey – a pre-screening and triage tool – that collects personal data and ranks participants on a vulnerability index. The information collected can be used to inform decisions about how best to refer individuals experiencing homelessness to housing resources, as well as to prioritize individuals for accessing rapid re-housing and other supports on a “by-name list”. Regular outreach is used to keep the list up to date and provide real time information about homelessness in the community.  

The Province endorses the Registry Week method developed by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness’ (CAEH) 20,000 Homes Campaign.

Please note: The ministry recognizes that by-name lists are a stated and valuable outcome of Registry Weeks and are a product and tool of integrated and coordinated systems. However, these lists also vary in process, format, cost, and sophistication. As by-name lists do not meet the Province’s criteria for homeless enumeration, they are currently not accepted as an eligible enumeration method.

Period Prevalence Count (PPC)

The Period Prevalence Count method is a coordinated, multi-day count that captures the incidence of homelessness over a period of time. The PPC method is sometimes preferred in Ontario’s rural and Northern areas where people experiencing homelessness are most often hidden and less likely to be visible (on the streets and in shelters).

The PPC method is extended to a full week of data collection, in order to maximize the number of people included. It focusses on accessing people through a variety of service organizations that are likely to be used by people experiencing homelessness such as community meal programs, drop-in centres, bus stations, and emergency shelters. Data collected using this method includes demographic information, reasons for homelessness, and referral patterns.  

As this method focusses on accessing people through service organizations and agencies, people who do not access such services may not be included in the count. In addition, this method may not count people experiencing homelessness in areas where services do not presently exist.

A standardized approach for PPC has been developed for the Province to enumerate homelessness in more rural and Northern communities in Ontario.

  • A guide on the PPC method can be found at the following link: URL will be provided when site for materials has been determined.

Capturing Hidden Homelessness

Many people experiencing homelessness stay with relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours or strangers because they do not have a permanent home.  They are considered ‘hidden’ because they are not visible in the community as experiencing homelessness and may not use services available to people experiencing homelessness even though they do not have a place to call home.

As people experiencing hidden homelessness are difficult to identify, current enumeration methods will likely not reflect the full scope of homelessness in a community or Service Manager area. However, some enumeration methods may be more conducive to reaching people who are experiencing hidden homelessness than others. An example is the Period Prevalence Count method. In this method, enumeration occurs over a longer period of time and people are accessed through a range of community services, thus allowing more opportunity for people experiencing hidden homelessness to participate. 

As approaches to understanding and capturing hidden homelessness emerge, the Province will explore their use and adoption. 

Using and Combining Different Enumeration Methods

Service Managers have the flexibility to use different enumeration methods for different municipalities in their service area, depending upon factors such as geography and community preference. If a Service Manager area includes a mixture of urban, suburban, and/or rural municipalities, the Service Manager may want to use one enumeration method in urban/suburban areas and another in rural areas. For example, a Service Manager could decide to use a PiT Count or Registry Week in urban municipalities and a Period Prevalence Count in rural municipalities.  

Service Managers can also choose to combine different enumeration methods in the same municipality to acquire different types of information or to access different locations of those experiencing homelessness. For example, a Service Manager could combine a PiT Count and a Registry Week as the PiT Count can provide a count of the number of people who are experiencing homelessness and the Registry Week survey can provide more in-depth information about those people who want assistance to find housing.  Service Managers could also use a PiT Count to obtain a count of more visible homelessness and decide to use a Period Prevalence Count in community agencies to help identify people experiencing hidden homelessness. 

Using Enumeration Methods Over Time

Service Managers are strongly encouraged to use the same method(s) in a given municipality in subsequent instances of enumeration to provide consistency over time. However, those that would like to use another enumeration method for a subsequent enumeration exercise/count are required to submit a rationale for changing methods in their Enumeration Plan.

Emerging Enumeration Methods

The ministry recognizes that other enumeration methods that are tested, validated, and endorsed by academics, organizations, and other levels of government may emerge in future years.  As such, it reserves the right to update the prescribed enumeration methods as required and will communicate any updates to Service Managers.

Timing

Service Managers are required to conduct their local homeless enumeration during the months of March, April or May.

Service Managers are required to conduct their first homeless enumeration in 2018.

Frequency

Service Managers are required to conduct homeless enumeration every two years, starting in 2018.

Reporting

Required Data Points

Service Managers are required to provide client-level information to the ministry on 15 required data points following the completion of homeless enumeration in their Service Manager areas. This data will be used to inform future policy and program development, as well as respond to the indicators in the Poverty Reduction Strategy. All identifying information should be stripped from the data before it is shared with the ministry. A description of each data point is outlined in the chart below.

Data Point

Definition

Relevance to Province

Type of Current Housing/Lodging

Where a person is staying or will stay on the day enumeration is conducted.

This data point will allow the Province to compare the characteristics between those who are unsheltered, sheltered, and provisionally accommodated.

Chronicity of Homelessness

The length of time that someone is homeless.

This data point will be used to examine trends in the duration of homelessness across the Province; create a new indicator in the Poverty Reduction Strategy; and support the provincial goal to end chronic homelessness by 2025.

Frequency of Homelessness

The number of times that someone is homeless.

This data point will be used to examine episodic homelessness and to assess changes in patterns of homelessness over time.

Reasons for Homelessness/Housing Loss

Reasons that caused / contributed to a person becoming homeless / losing their housing

This data point will be used to determine the number of people who have transitioned from provincially-funded institutions and services systems (such as hospitals, correctional facilities, youth justice services, and VAW shelters) into homelessness, which is one of the four provincial priorities. This data point will also be used to inform and improve system coordination between ministries.

Age

Number of years a person has lived.

This data point will be used to describe the age distribution of those experiencing homelessness and determine the number of those who are youth. Youth homelessness is one of the four provincial priorities. This data point will allow the Province to track trends in youth homelessness over time.

Indigenous Identity

People that identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit.

This data point will be used to document the number of Indigenous people who are experiencing homelessness and track trends over time. It will also inform the Province’s response to homelessness among Indigenous people, which is one of the four provincial priorities.

Racialized Identity

A racialized person is someone who experiences racialization, which is “the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.”[1]

This data point will be used to document the number of racialized persons that are experiencing homelessness, to assess whether particular groups are over-represented, and monitor trends over time. This information will be used to inform the development of culturally appropriate provincial responses.

Gender Identity

Each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

This data point will be used to document the gender identities of those experiencing homelessness, to assess whether particular groups are over-represented, and to inform provincial responses.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that forms part of who one is. It covers the range of human sexuality from lesbian, gay, two-spirit, and queer to bisexual and heterosexual.

This data point will be used to document the sexual orientation of those experiencing homelessness, to assess whether particular groups are over-represented, and to inform provincial responses.

Language

The language that a person predominantly uses to communicate. This may also include the language that a person would prefer to receive services in.

This data point will be used to document the primary languages used among those experiencing homelessness and will help to inform provincial responses.

Family Homelessness

One or more adults experiencing homelessness with one or more dependentchildrenunder 18 years of age

This data point will be used to determine how many adults experiencing homelessness have children with them, as well as to respond to indicators in the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Military Service

Someone who has served in the Canadian military.

 

This data point will be used to document the issue of veteran homelessness in Ontario.

Health

Someone who identifies as having a health issue, which includes physical health, mental health, addictions, and disability.

This data point will be used to document the number of people experiencing homelessness who identify as having a health issue (includes physical health, mental health, addictions, and disability), which will help inform provincial responses.

Child Welfare (History of Foster Care)

The placement of a child or youth in the home of someone who receives compensation for caring for the child but is not the child's parent. The number of years since leaving care will be collected.

Those who have interacted with the child welfare system are at higher risk for experiencing homelessness, particularly when transitioning from care. This data point can inform program and policy responses to reduce discharging into homelessness from this public system.

Income Source

Sources of income including various forms of assistance, benefits and employment.

This data point will be used to document the sources of income among those experiencing homelessness and will help to inform provincial responses.

Additional Data Points

Service Managers have the flexibility to collect enumeration data on additional data points (in addition to those required by the ministry) to inform their local service system planning. 

Timelines for Reporting

Service Managers must provide client-level enumeration data on the required data points to the ministry within six months of completing an enumeration.

Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data

Service Managers are required to refer to the ministry’s instructions for reporting enumeration data when submitting client-level data on the required data points.  The Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data can be found in Appendix B.  The ministry will accept Service Manager enumeration data in one of two ways:

  • Service Managers may organize and structure their data to match the format of the sheet described in the instructions (i.e., headings and columns for each data point) and include all required data points and submit to the ministry; or
  • Service Managers may use the sheet described in the instructions as a template and input their enumeration data directly into the template and submit to the ministry.

Data Quality

Service Managers are responsible for the quality of data collected, including the completeness and validity of the information recorded. Service Managers are also responsible for ensuring that staff and volunteers receive the proper training in survey procedures and privacy protection.

Sharing Information with the Public

To promote information sharing and accountability, Service Managers are required to share their local enumeration results publicly by March 31st of the following calendar year after their enumeration has taken place. For example, results from the 2018 enumeration must be shared publicly by March 31, 2019.

Service Managers have the flexibility to share their enumeration information in any format and through any method.


Spotlight: County of Simcoe 20,000 Homes Campaign Registry Week

The County of Simcoe is using the data collected from their Registry Week to inform actions and drive change. In addition to using results to shape their homelessness strategy, enumeration has assisted the County to: 

  • Uncover at-risk populations they were previously unaware of, 
  • Obtain longitudinal shelter-level data on utilization rate, intake, and discharge information,
  • Inform the kinds of programs and services required to address the root issues of homelessness, and
  • Provide a baseline number and clearer picture of the current state of homelessness in the County.

The County has also adopted the four provincial priority areas for action on homelessness, and is exploring the addition of questions related to tracking homelessness following transitions from provincially funded institutions.


Enumeration Standards 

The ministry has developed five enumeration standards to ensure consistency and rigour in the data collected.

Standard 1: Scope of Enumeration 

The scope of enumeration is defined by two aspects: a) the information collected; and b) how people experiencing homelessness are identified for inclusion in enumeration. Enumeration involves counting the number of people who are experiencing homelessness and recording information about specific characteristics of the people counted, if that information can be obtained.
 
Enumeration will include people who are unsheltered, emergency sheltered, and those who are provisionally accommodated. Emergency sheltered includes those who are staying in overnight shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness and VAW shelters. Where applicable, it may also include families or individuals who received hotel/motel vouchers in lieu of shelter beds. People who are provisionally accommodated have no fixed address and are staying in accommodation that is temporary or lacks security of tenure. Provisional accommodation includes transitional housing (i.e., short-term supportive housing); correctional facilities and detention centres; hospital or health facilities, including mental health facilities and detoxification centres; and staying temporarily in a series of other people's homes, typically making use of improvised sleeping arrangements. 

Emergency sheltered homeless counts (i.e., the number of people sleeping in each shelter) may be based on data collected by shelter data systems, where available. If information for the required data points is not included in the shelter database, information must be collected from shelter residents using a survey.
 
In large shelters, collecting survey information for every person in the shelter may not be feasible.  A representative sample of shelter residents can be surveyed to describe the characteristics of residents in that shelter, using an appropriate sampling strategy.

Access to people staying in provisional accommodation for the purposes of enumeration will vary by Service Manager area. Service Managers are encouraged to include people staying in several types of provisional accommodation to create a more complete picture of homelessness in their communities.

The unsheltered homeless count involves canvassing people living on the streets or in places that are not intended for human habitation (e.g., vehicles or abandoned buildings). Unsheltered homeless counts are based on a street survey.  This survey can cover the entire community using a block by block approach; can cover all known locations; or a mixed approach may be used. 

Standard 2: Core Set of Common Questions 

A core set of common questions has been developed to ensure that a common set of data points will be collected for each person who is enumerated, regardless of the method used for enumeration. The ministry has, where possible, aligned its core set of questions with existing questions in each of the enumeration methods. If an enumeration method includes questions that capture the same data elements as the ministry’s core questions, then Service Managers do not have to add the ministry’s core question. However, if an enumeration method does not include a question that captures the required data elements for a specific data point, Service Managers must ensure that the ministry’s core question is included in the survey provided to enumeration participants. The core set of common questions can be found in Appendix C.  

In some instances, it may not be possible to collect data for every person who is enumerated. Some individuals may be unwilling or unable to respond to survey questions (e.g., they are sleeping when enumeration is being conducted or mental health issues may prevent them from engaging). In these circumstances, these people would be counted as “observed” and no data point information would be collected. 

Standard 3: Coverage within Service Manager Areas

Service Managers can choose to enumerate all municipalities that fall within their area. Alternatively, Service Managers may decide to enumerate homelessness in a subset of municipalities, selected through the appropriate use of sampling. 
Enumeration that is based on a sample of municipalities will not provide the total number of people experiencing homelessness in the Service Manager area. A sample of municipalities will provide a snapshot of people experiencing homelessness in the areas enumerated and it can serve as a baseline against which to measure the impact of local initiatives over time. 

The goal of sampling is to conduct enumeration in a subset of municipalities in order to characterize the whole Service Manager area. Service Managers are encouraged to develop a sound sampling strategy that considers how municipalities are selected and how well the selected municipalities represent the Service Manager area.

Selecting a Sample

If Service Managers decide to choose a sample of municipalities, a systematic approach must be used to select them for enumeration. The approach used to select municipalities is important because the goal is to get a reasonable sample of the Service Manager area and to clearly define the areas that will be used in the 2018 enumeration, as well as in subsequent enumerations. When sampling, Service Managers responsible for multiple municipalities are required to select a cross-section of municipalities that represent their area.  Service Managers should select some urban, suburban and rural municipalities, to the extent that each exists in their Service Manager area.  

For example, a Service Manager could use the following process to select sample municipalities:

  • Divide municipalities into urban, suburban and rural categories.  
  • Select municipalities from each category in the Service Manager area. Municipalities can be selected randomly from each category or Service Managers can identify the municipalities in each category that they think are important to enumerate and monitor over time.

Service Managers composed of one or a few large municipalities may require a different approach.  Large municipalities can be divided into distinct geographic areas (e.g., by census tracts), which provide the basis for identifying the areas to be enumerated.
 
In selecting municipalities, Service Managers should consider leveraging enumerations that have already been planned for 2018 and subsequent years (e.g., Point-in-Time counts with the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy or Registry Weeks with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness).  Municipalities included in these enumeration activities can be included as part of the sample.
 
As noted in other sections, consistency over time is important to assess and reflect change. The municipalities selected for the baseline should be included in subsequent enumeration.


Spotlight: Toronto Street Needs Assessment 2013

The Toronto Street Needs Assessment employed a full coverage survey of the downtown core, and surveyed a statistical sample of suburban areas. 

Based on the 2011 Statistics Canada census tracts, the city was divided into study areas for the count:

  • 91 study areas were surveyed in the downtown core to allow for full coverage of the area,
  • 168 study areas outside the downtown core were randomly selected to be surveyed, and
  • 36 study areas outside of the core identified by community partners as known locations where people experiencing homelessness were staying. 

Overall, a total of 55 per cent of Toronto's study areas were actually surveyed representing 52 per cent of the surface area of Toronto.


Determining the Number of Municipalities to Select

As a guideline, the ministry recommends that the number of municipalities or census tracts selected for enumeration should cover at least 30 per cent of the population of the Service Manager area. 

To determine whether enough of the Service Manager area is covered, Service Managers should add together the populations of the municipalities that have been selected.  The sum of the populations in the selected municipalities should be equal to or greater than 30 per cent of the total population of the Service Manager area.  

Standard 4: Coverage within Selected Municipalities

Coverage relates to how much of the population is covered by enumeration.  It provides a frame of reference for the count and is important for understanding the results.

“Full” or “complete” coverage should be applied to municipalities that Service Managers select for local homeless enumeration. 

Full coverage of people experiencing homelessness that are emergency sheltered within a municipality requires counting the number of people staying in all emergency shelters, extreme weather shelters (e.g., Out of the Cold) and violence against women shelters during the enumeration period. It can also include families or individuals who received hotel/motel vouchers in lieu of shelter beds. 

Full coverage for those who are provisionally accommodated may not be possible for some Service Managers. However, Service Managers are encouraged to include people who are provisionally accommodated to develop as complete a count as possible. 

Full coverage of people experiencing homelessness that are unsheltered may be achieved by canvassing all geographic areas within selected municipalities (i.e., block by block) or by enumerating in “known locations,” which are public spaces where people experiencing homelessness are known to congregate. Identifying all known locations will require Service Managers to work with community organizations, Indigenous partners, and people with lived experience who know the areas and places where people experiencing homelessness are likely to go.

Full coverage and known location approaches may also be combined, with a complete canvas of densely populated areas and canvas of known locations, in areas where individuals who are experiencing homelessness are less visible or the population is more spread out. 

For communities that use the Period Prevalence Count method for enumeration, full coverage requires collaborating with the full range of agencies in a community that provide services to people experiencing homelessness. 
Large single municipalities may elect to enumerate urban areas and select a sample from surrounding areas.  In these cases, it is important that Service Managers identify the population that is covered by enumeration. 


Spotlight: North Bay Point-in-Time Count

For North Bay’s Point-in-Time Count, 23 locations were surveyed, including “sheltered,” “unsheltered” and “service provider” locations and the health care system. Other locations were identified through Nipissing’s District Homelessness and Housing Partnership, and confirmed by the Point-in-Count Steering Committee. The final locations were mapped using a geographic information system into 10 city zones (including street outreach).


 

Standard 5: De-Duplication

If the timeframe for conducting enumeration is longer than an eight hour period, Service Managers must implement a mechanism to make sure that each person is surveyed only once during the period of enumeration, also referred to as “de-duplication.” 

De-duplication efforts often involve asking one or two questions to establish whether or not a person has participated in a survey already.  De-duplication can also occur after the data are collected; however this approach requires collecting information that will help to identify multiple entries for the same person.  For example, collecting information that is unique to the individual such as the first two letters of the person’s first name and the first two letters of the person’s last name, in combination with the same data, can help to identify surveys that may have been completed by the same person.


Spotlight: Cochrane Period Prevalence Count

For Cochrane’s Period Prevalence Count, a data collection instrument was used to prevent duplication. The tool screened individuals by examining the first, middle, and last initials as well as the date of birth and gender. Those with identical information were considered to be the same person, and the duplicated information was eliminated from further analysis. Most individuals provided all of the information required to identify duplicate cases.


Considerations for Engagement

Engaging with Indigenous Communities

First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are significantly over-represented among people experiencing homelessness in Ontario and have higher rates of core and deep core housing need compared to non-Indigenous Ontarians. In some Northern communities, Indigenous peoples are acutely over-represented among the population experiencing homelessness. Indigenous youth, Indigenous women experiencing violence and Indigenous people transitioning from the child welfare system, hospitals, and the justice system often face unique challenges and are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Indigenous peoples’ experiences of homelessness are intricately related to inter-generational trauma and the legacy of the residential school system.

As the Province is committed to building constructive, cooperative relationships that are based on mutual respect and lead to improved opportunities and outcomes for all Indigenous peoples, Service Managers are required to engage with Indigenous organizations and communities – including First Nations, Métis, Inuit organizations and communities, where present in the service area, when planning and conducting enumeration.  Engagement with Indigenous organizations and communities should occur during all phases (planning, implementation, and communication of results) of enumeration to ensure that the enumeration approach is culturally appropriate.

Additional information on engaging Indigenous communities in homeless enumeration can be found at the following link:


Spotlight: Hamilton Point-in-Time Count

Hamilton’s Point-in-Time Count incorporated a unique Indigenous perspective that acknowledges self-determination and is grounded in the principle of reconciliation. The Social Planning and Research Council collaborated with Indigenous partners to lead an urban homelessness survey organized for and with Indigenous peoples. Planning included Indigenous consultation, coordination, as well as efforts from Indigenous volunteers, who were helpful in outreach efforts. Additionally, a magnet event that included the provision of Indigenous food and various cultural activities, such as drumming, dancing, singing, and giveaways, was used to draw in people experiencing homelessness in the community to participate. 


Engaging with Community Partners

Building relationships and engaging community partners often plays a vital role when planning and conducting enumeration. Community partners can help identify known locations to be enumerated, can provide administrative and logistical support during enumeration, and can help promote what is being done within the broader community.

Service Managers should consider including the following groups when developing and implementing their enumeration approach:


Spotlight: City of Greater Sudbury Period Prevalence Count

Following consultations with service providers, the City of Greater Sudbury made the decision to expand data collection for their 2015 Period Prevalence Count to beyond the downtown area. 
This allowed for inclusion of areas outside the downtown core, including the Donovan, Chelmsford, Val Caron, Hanmer, Capreol and Walden regions that had been excluded from previous homeless counts in Sudbury.


Volunteer Training and Recruitment

Staff and volunteers often have a significant role in implementing local homeless enumeration. Volunteers may reduce the amount of funds needed to administer enumeration and can bring critical skills to the process. Volunteers can also provide valuable feedback on the enumeration process to improve future enumeration exercises.

When recruiting volunteers, Service Managers are encouraged to consider selecting volunteers that have experience working with people experiencing homelessness. This could include staff from homeless-serving organizations, service providers, social workers, healthcare staff, outreach workers, and people with lived experience. 

Further resources on volunteer recruitment, training, and management, including specific examples and tips for each enumeration method can be found at the following links:


Spotlight: Region of Waterloo 20,000 Homes Registry Week

Over 80 volunteers volunteered their time and efforts during Waterloo’s Registry Week:

  • 37 service provider staff
  • 21 region employees
  • 14 community volunteers, and
  • 9 community organization volunteers

Volunteer roles included: survey team lead, survey team member, data entry, headquarters support staff, and story teller (photography and videography).

The two half-day training sessions for volunteers provided background on the 100,000 Homes and 20,000 Homes Campaigns, outlined Waterloo Region’s local approach, and orientated people to the survey tool. Volunteers learned how to appropriately approach a person experiencing homelessness and were provided a script to follow. Confidentiality agreements were also signed by volunteers to confirm they would not share any information gathered from survey participants.


People-Centred Approach

As enumeration includes the surveying of people who are experiencing homelessness, Service Managers are strongly encouraged to adopt a people-centred approach during the planning and implementation phases of enumeration. A people-centred approach to enumeration should include the following considerations:

  • Enumeration should be conducted with respect for the rights, welfare, and human dignity of the participants.
  • Enumeration should be conducted in a non-judgmental way.
  • Those surveying participants should be considerate of individual privacy and the right to be left alone.
  • Those surveying participants should consider the fact that many people who are experiencing homelessness may have experienced violence, abuse, and trauma, and therefore should ensure that enumeration is conducted with sensitivity.
  • Those surveying participants should be aware of issues of diversity and how these impact experiences of homelessness. For example, people experiencing homelessness may be further impacted by racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. 

In addition, Service Managers are responsible for ensuring that participants provide informed consent prior to being enumerated and to ensure that the confidentiality of all participants and their information is maintained. 
Further information on conducting enumeration with people experiencing homelessness, informed consent, and confidentiality can be found at the links below:

Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) Funding for Homeless Enumeration

To assist with the costs of conducting enumeration in their service areas, Service Managers can use a portion of their funding allocation under the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI). Beginning April 1, 2017, the ministry has increased the program administration allotment under the CHPI to 15 per cent for the purposes of enumeration only. As such, Service Managers that elect to use CHPI funding for homeless enumeration can use up to 15 per cent of their total CHPI allocation for program administration and enumeration costs combined. Service Managers that elect not to use CHPI funding for enumeration can only use up to 10 per cent of their allocation for program administration. 

For example, if a Service Manager uses 5 per cent for general program administration, they can use up to 10 per cent for enumeration. If a Service Manager decides to use no CHPI funds for general program administration, they can use up to the full 15 per cent for enumeration.

All Service Managers may use their CHPI program administration allotment for enumeration.  Some Service Managers receive funding from other sources to enumerate in particular communities (e.g., HPS funding).  Service Managers that receive funding from other sources for enumeration are required to allocate those funds in those communities before using their CHPI funding for enumeration.

Enumeration Costs

Eligible enumeration costs include:

  • Wages for local enumeration coordinator
  • Wages for coordinator(s) responsible for specific locations and/or communities (e.g., shelters, volunteers, Indigenous communities, etc.)
  • Data analysis
  • Items for enumeration participants (e.g., honorariums)
  • Enumeration supplies (e.g., pens, name tags, clipboards, first aid kits, etc.)
  • Advertising and recruitment (in local media, social media, etc.)
  • Volunteer training and materials
  • Printing of materials
  • Other administrative costs that support the implementation of homeless enumeration

Enumeration costs do not include:

  • Administrative costs that do not support the implementation of homeless enumeration.

For further information on the use of CHPI funding for homeless enumeration, please refer to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) Program Guidelines.

Other Resources

Data Definitions

Term

Definition

At-Risk of Homelessness

Refers to persons who are not homeless, but whose current economic and/or housing situation is precarious and/or does not meet public health, or safety standards.

Chronic Homelessness

Refers to people, often with disabling conditions (e.g., chronic physical or mental illness, substance abuse problems), who are currently homeless and have been homeless for six months or more in the past year (i.e., have spent more than 180 cumulative nights in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation).

Emergency Shelter

A facility designed to meet the immediate needs of people who are experiencing homelessness. Emergency shelters may target specific sub-populations, including women, families, youth or Indigenous persons. These shelters typically have minimal eligibility criteria, may offer shared sleeping facilities and amenities, and may expect clients to leave in the morning. They may offer food, clothing or other services.

Emergency Sheltered

Those staying overnight in shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness, including extreme weather shelters such as Out of the Cold programs and crash beds, and shelters for those impacted by violence.

This would include those who have received hotel/motel vouchers where no emergency shelters exist or in overflow situations.

Homelessness

The situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it.

Known Locations

Public spaces where people experiencing homelessness are known to congregate.

Magnet Event

A magnet event is a social engagement strategy used to draw people to a common place on a given day to share information and carry out enumeration for those willing to participate. Magnet events may be used to reach people who are marginalized and underrepresented among those using homelessness services, such as youth and Indigenous Peoples.

Magnet events are often well publicized in advance and may provide food, entertainment or presentations on topics of interest to particular subgroups.

Provisionally Accommodated

Refers to those who are homeless and whose accommodation is temporary or lacks security of tenure.

Provisional accommodations may include: staying with friends/acquaintances, correctional institutions, hospitals, and residential treatment.

This does not include emergency shelters, group homes, retirement homes, long-term care homes, and crown ward facilities.

Transitional Housing

Supportive, yet temporary type of accommodation that is meant to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing by offering elements such as structure, supervision, support, life skills, and education.

Unsheltered

Living on the street or in places not intended for human habitation.

Violence Against Women (VAW) Shelter

Community-based emergency shelter and crisis support services offered for women and their dependents who have experienced violence and/or abuse.

Services are delivered with the recognition that women access shelter services on a voluntary basis, and that women have the right to make their own choices and decisions about the services they receive. Shelter services are intended to be women-centred, to support the safety of women and dependents fleeing violence, and to focus on each woman's individual immediate and long-term needs.

Veteran

Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and is honourably released.

 

Ministry of Housing Contacts

For questions and inquiries regarding these guidelines and/or the Ministerial Directive, please contact Adriana Chang (adriana.chang@ontario.ca) or Della Knoke (della.knoke@ontario.ca).

Municipal Services Offices 

For any regional questions and concerns regarding homeless enumeration, please contact the ministry’s Housing Programs Branch or Municipal Services Office (MSO) for your Service Manager area.

Region

Contact

Address

Service Manager Area

Housing Programs Branch – Toronto

Walter Battello, Account Manager, Regional Services Delivery Unit

Tel: 416-585-6398

Email: walter.battello@ontario.ca

777 Bay Street, 14th Floor

Toronto, ON, M5G 2E5

Fax: 416-585-7003

Toronto

Municipal Services Office – Central

Ian Russell, Team Lead, Regional Housing Services

Tel: 416-585-6965

Email: ian.russell@ontario.ca

777 Bay Street, 13th Floor

Toronto, ON, M5G 2E5

Toll Free: 1-800-668-0230

Fax: 416-585-6882

Durham, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York

Municipal Services Office – Eastern

Mila Kolokolnikova, Team Lead, Regional Housing Services

Tel: 613-545-2123

Email:mila.kolokolnikova@ontario.ca

8 Estate Lane, Rockwood House

Kingston, ON, K7M 9A8

General Inquiry: 613-545-2100

Toll Free: 1-800-267-9438

Fax: 613-548-6822

Cornwall, Hastings, Kawartha Lakes, Kingston, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lennox and Addington, Northumberland, Ottawa, Peterborough, Prescott and Russell, Renfrew

Municipal Services Office – Western

Tony Brutto, Team Lead, Regional Housing Services

Tel: 519-873-4018

Email: tony.brutto@ontario.ca

659 Exeter Road, 2nd Floor

London, ON, N6E 1L3

General Inquiry: 519-873-4020

Toll Free: 1-800-265-4736

Fax: 519-873-4018

Brantford, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Dufferin, Grey, Hamilton, Huron, Lambton, London, Niagara, Norfolk, Oxford, St. Thomas, Stratford, Waterloo, Wellington, Windsor

Municipal Services Office – Northeast

Cindy Couillard, Team Lead, Regional Housing Services

Tel: 705-564-6808

Email: cindy.couillard@ontario.ca

159 Cedar Street, Suite 401

Sudbury, ON, P3E 6A5

General Inquiry: 705-564-0120

Toll Free: 1-800-461-1193

Fax: 705-564-6863

Algoma, Cochrane, Greater Sudbury, Manitoulin-Sudbury, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Timiskaming

Municipal Services Office – Northwest

Peter Boban, Team Lead, Regional Housing Services

Tel: 807-473-3017

Email: peter.boban@ontario.ca

435 James Street, Suite 223

Thunder Bay, ON, P7E 6S7

General Inquiry: 807-475-1651

Toll Free: 1-800-465-5027

Fax: 807-475-1196

Kenora, Rainy River, Thunder Bay

 

Appendix A – Enumeration Plan Template

To provide opportunity for comment, Enumeration Plans should be submitted to the Ministry no later than six months before a Service Manager undertakes local homeless enumeration.  For example, if enumeration is being planned for April 2018, the Enumeration Plan would be submitted in October 2017. 

Enumeration Plans should be approved by a delegated Service Manager authority (e.g., director level).  Council or Board approval is not required where delegated authority is in place.

The Ministry of Housing will review all Service Manager Local Homeless Enumeration Plans and may provide feedback as required.  The Ministry will use the Enumeration Plans to gather information on the scope of enumeration being conducted across the province, the enumeration methods being used, and how enumeration will be implemented across Service Manager regions. 

Details of the Enumeration Plan must be provided in this document.

Service Manager:

Date:

Contact Name:

Contact Information:

Email:

Telephone:

 

Enumeration Timing

What is the planned date for enumeration? 


 

Enumeration Methods 

Which enumeration method(s) will be used to enumerate homelessness in your Service Manager area? (Check all that apply).

  • Point-in-Time Count
  • Registry Week
  • Period Prevalence Count

Service Manager Areas Enumerated 

Please complete the following table to provide information about the municipalities  that you have selected for enumeration. Some very large municipalities may wish to select a subset of areas to enumerate based on census tracts. 

Name of municipality

Population of the municipality covered by enumeration

(if census tracts are selected for enumeration, report the total population of those census tracts)

Enumeration method to be used (if differs by municipality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please describe how you selected these municipalities (or census tracts) for enumeration: 

 


 

 


 

 


Implementation

For each municipality that will be enumerated, please describe how people experiencing homelessness will be located:  (Examples: canvassing block by block to locate people experiencing homelessness, “magnet events” , working with agencies/organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness) 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

How will community partners be engaged in planning and conducting enumeration?

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

Which types of community partners will be engaged? (Check all that apply).

  • Emergency shelters
  • Community centres/drop in centres
  • Domestic violence/Violence Against Women shelter
  • Housing First program
  • Hostels
  • Homelessness outreach programs
  • Indigenous organizations (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit)
  • Food banks
  • Religious/Cultural organizations
  • First responders (police, fire, paramedics)
  • Health Services  
  • Mental Health Services 
  • Correctional services 
  • People with lived experience
  • Other, please specify

How will Indigenous organizations and communities, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit be engaged in planning and implementing enumeration, where present in the service area?

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

If volunteers are being used to conduct enumeration, please describe the training that will be provided.

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 
How will the results of enumeration be used to inform your local Housing and Homelessness Plan?

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

Section for Service Manager / Delegate Approval

Name:

Email:

Date:

 

 

Appendix B – Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data

As per the Minister's Directive on Service Manager Local Homeless Enumeration, please provide information collected during your enumeration for the common data points.  The Ministry will use enumeration data to better understand the scale and nature of homelessness in Ontario.  Enumeration data will also be used to inform policy and program initiatives and to track homelessness and chronic homelessness over time. 

Service Managers are expected to obtain consent from respondents to share the relevant collected information with the Ministry to help the Ministry understand homelessness.

This sheet describes the data that should be reported and the structure that data should have.

  • Data should be provided in a Microsoft Excel file or as a ‘csv’ file.  Each row will contain the responses for one individual.  
  • The dataset should include all individuals who were counted as homeless, even though some may not have completed the survey questions.  For example, someone may be   counted as homeless but not be able or willing to answer questions (e.g., sleeping in a car at the time of enumeration).  That person would be included in the data set and assigned a number but will have N/A or missing information for the survey questions. 
  • The surveys used for the different enumeration approaches may have slightly different questions.  For this reason, please report the results for each method separately.
  • Please report results for each municipality separately.   Service Managers can either provide data in separate files or include a column in a data file to note which municipality the data come from.

Please provide your data to the Ministry of Housing within six months of completing enumeration.  

Service Manager: 

Contact Name:

Date Compiled: 

Municipality:

Enumeration Method:

Date(s) of Enumeration:
 

Mandatory Data Points: 

A - Client # 
B - Type of Current housing/ lodging
C - Chronicity of homelessness
E - Frequency of homelessness
F - Reasons for homelessness / housing loss (*see note below)
G - Age 
H - Indigenous Identity
I - Racialized Identity  -Response 1
J - Racialized Identity  - Response 2 (if applies)
K - Gender Identity 
L - Sexual Orientation
M - Language 
N - Family Homelessness (*see note below)
O - Military Service
P - Health - Chronic/ Acute  
Q - Health - Physical
R - Health - Addiction
S - Health - Mental Health
T - Child Welfare (Foster Care) Ever? 
U - Child Welfare (Foster Care) How long ago?
V - Income Source  (*see note below)

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* The question provides the opportunity to select more than one response.  The number of columns under this question will correspond to the number of response options that are possible

Required Data Points

Data Point

Definition

Type of Current Housing/Lodging

Where a person is staying or will stay on the day enumeration is conducted.

Chronicity of Homelessness

The length of time that someone is homeless.

Frequency of Homelessness

The number of times that someone is homeless.

Reasons for Homelessness/Housing Loss

Reasons that caused / contributed to a person becoming homeless / losing their housing

Age

Number of years a person has lived.

Indigenous Identity

People that identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit.

Racialized Identity

A racialized person is someone who experiences racialization, which is “the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.”[1]

Gender Identity

Each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that forms part of who one is. It covers the range of human sexuality from lesbian, gay, two-spirit, and queer to bisexual and heterosexual.

Language

The language that a person predominantly uses to communicate. This may also include the language that a person would prefer to receive services in.

Family Homelessness

One or more adults experiencing homelessness with one or more dependentchildrenunder 18 years of age.

Military Service

Someone who has served in the Canadian military.

Health

Someone who identifies as having a health issue, which includes physical health, mental health, addictions, and disability.

Child Welfare (History of Foster Care)

The placement of a child or youth in the home of someone who receives compensation for caring for the child but is not the child's parent. Years since leaving care will be collected.

Income Source

Sources of income including various forms of assistance, benefits and employment.

 

Appendix C – Core Set of Common Questions

To ensure that a common set of data points will be collected for each person who is enumerated, Service Managers are required to ensure that the data elements collected through the ministry’s core set of common questions are included in the surveys used for each enumeration method.

The ministry has, where possible, aligned its core set of questions with existing questions in each of the enumeration methods. If an enumeration method includes questions that already capture the same data elements as the ministry’s core questions, then Service Managers do not have to add the ministry’s core question. However, if an enumeration method does not include a question that captures the required information for a specific data point, Service Managers must ensure that the ministry’s core question is included in the survey provided to enumeration participants. 

Data Point

Ministry of Housing Core Question

Type of Current Housing / Lodging

Where did you stay last night or will stay tonight? [This is an open question with categories provided]

  • Own apartment / house
  • Someone else’s place (friend or family)
  • Motel / hotel
  • Hospital, jail, prison, remand centre
  • Emergency shelter (or motel voucher)
  • Domestic violence shelter
  • Transitional shelter
  • Transitional housing
  • Public space (e.g., sidewalks, squares, parks, forests, bus shelters)
  • Vehicle (car, van, RV, truck)
  • Abandoned / vacant building
  • Other unsheltered location unfit for human habitation
  • Respondent doesn’t know
  • Decline to answer

Chronicity of Homelessness

In total, how much time have you been homeless over the past year? [Best estimate]

  • Length ______ days/weeks/months
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Frequency of Homelessness

In total, how many different times have you experienced homelessness over the past year: [Best estimate]

  • Number of times __[Includes this time]
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Reasons for homelessness / housing loss

What happened that caused you to lose your housing most recently? [This is an open question with categories provided]

  • Illness or medical condition
  • Addiction or substance use
  • Job loss
  • Unable to pay rent or mortgage
  • Evicted other reason (not financial)
  • Experienced abuse by: parent / guardian
  • Experienced abuse by: spouse / partner
  • Conflict with: parent / guardian
  • Conflict with: spouse / partner
  • Incarcerated (jail or prison)
  • Hospitalization or treatment program
  • Unsafe housing conditions
  • Other reason: ___________________
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Age

How old are you OR what year were you born?

  • Age (in years): _______
  • Year born: ______
  • Don’t know
  • Declined to answer

Indigenous Identity

Do you identify as Indigenous or do you have Indigenous ancestry? This includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit. [If yes, please follow up to specify] Note: You may consider including Aboriginal or locally-used terminology in consultation with your community.

  • Yes
    • First Nations
    • Inuit
    • Métis
    • Non-Status or Have Indigenous ancestry
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Racialized Identity

People may identify as belonging to a particular racial group. For example, some people may identify as Black or African-Canadian, other people may identify as Asian or South Asian and other people may identify as white. What racialized identity do you identify with? [Do not list categories. Select all that apply]

  • Aboriginal or Indigenous
  • Arab
  • Asian (e.g., Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.)
  • South-East Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Laotian, etc.)
  • South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, etc.)
  • West Asian (e.g., Iranian, Afghan, etc.)
  • Black or African-Canadian
  • Filipino
  • Hispanic or Latin American
  • White (e.g., European-Canadian)
  • Other (please specify)
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Gender Identity

What gender do you identify with? [Show list to respondent. Do not read categories unless asked]

  • Male / Man
  • Female / Woman
  • Trans female / Trans woman
  • Trans male / Trans man
  • Two-spirit
  • Genderqueer / Gender non-conforming
  • Not listed: ________
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Sexual Orientation

How do you describe your sexual orientation, for example Straight, Gay, Lesbian? [Show list to respondent. Check all that apply]

  • Straight/Heterosexual
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Two-spirit
  • Queer
  • Questioning
  • Not listed: _______
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Language

In what language do you feel best able to express yourself?

  • English
  • French
  • No preference
  • Neither (please specify)______
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Family Homelessness

What family members are staying with you tonight?

  • None
  • Partner
  • Child(ren) / Dependent(s)
  • Other adult
  • Decline to answer

Military Service

Have you ever had any service in the Canadian military or RCMP? (Military includes Canadian Navy, Army or Air Force)

  • Yes, Military
  • Yes, RCMP
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

Health

Do you identify as having any of the following:

  • Chronic/Acute Medical Condition
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t know
    • Decline to answer
  • Physical Disability
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t know
    • Decline to answer
  • Addiction
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t know
    • Decline to answer
  • Mental Health Issue
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t know
    • Decline to answer

Child Welfare (History of Foster Care)

Have you ever been in foster care and/or a group home?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Decline to answer

If yes, how long ago was that?

Length (in years) ________

Income Source

Where do you get your money from? [May provide examples. Select all that apply]

  • Employment
  • Informal / Self-Employment (e.g., bottle returns, panhandling)
  • Employment Insurance
  • Welfare / Income Assistance
  • Disability Benefit
  • Seniors Benefits (e.g., Canadian Pension Plan / Old Age Security / Guaranteed Income Supplement)
  • Child and Family Tax Benefits
  • Money from family and friends
  • Other source:
  • No income
  • Decline to answer