Revised 2008 February 25
COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES
SOCIAL RESEARCH UNIT
The Biennial Count of Homeless Persons in Calgary:
Frequently Asked Questions
The Biennial Count of Homeless Persons in Calgary: Frequently Asked Questions
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WHAT IS THE BIENNIAL COUNT OF HOMELESS PERSONS?
The City of Calgary has conducted a census or ‘count’ of homeless persons every two
years since 1992. This City of Calgary initiative provides information that is used for
The City’s ongoing research and planning activities, but has also been published as a
recurrent report since 1996 for the benefit of homeless serving agencies and others.
HOW DOES THE CITY OF CALGARY DETERMINE WHO IS A HOMELESS PERSON?
The formal definition of homelessness that has been used for every census conducted
by The City of Calgary since 19961 is:
Homeless persons are considered to be those who do not have a
permanent residence to which they can return whenever they so choose.
This definition includes people who are living on the streets as well as those who are
staying in emergency shelters or facilities offering longer term shelter and support for
people who would otherwise be living on the streets.
HOW IS THE COUNT DONE?
How the count is conducted will be changing in 2008. From 1992 through 2006, the
count included two components. The first was a survey of facilities and service
agencies. Facilities include emergency shelters and transitional housing facilities (such
as homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and supportive mental health or addictions
facilities), where shelter is provided for people who do not have a permanent residence
of their own. Service agencies include all hospital emergency departments, police and
prison services, emergency social services, and Calgary Transit (whose staff survey
remote bus routes and LRT stations). The survey of facilities and service agencies will
continue to be conducted the same way that it has been in the past so this