The Smithers Action Group has released its report on a recent homeless count.
Project coordinator, Nicole Oud says the numbers are surprising.
“I think just the fact that there were 22 people for the size of the town, that is pretty substantial,” she says. “I think the other thing that surprised me was the amount of time that people were experiencing homelessness. Over half the people we interviewed had been homeless for more than a year.”
The report also revealed that 92 per cent of the homeless people they interviewed identified as Aboriginal while only 12 per cent of the overall population in Smithers identifies as Aboriginal.
The count was done over one night in November and Oud says the actual number of homeless people is likely higher.
The action group did the count to figure out the number of individuals living in Smithers that do not have access to permanent housing so they can move forward with plans to build a supportive housing unit.
Oud says the report can also be used by different groups in the community to help inform policy development and program changes.