News / Edmonton

Boyle Street director 'baffled' by Homeless Count numbers

Julian Daly says he's seen increase in homelessness, not a 24% decrease as Homeward Trust claims.

Boyle Street Community Services Executive Director Julian Daly says this year's Homeless Count numbers are way off.

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Boyle Street Community Services Executive Director Julian Daly says this year's Homeless Count numbers are way off.

UPDATED: The executive director of an inner-city agency says Edmonton’s Homeless Count numbers don’t add up.

Julian Daly with Boyle Street Community Services says he is “baffled” by figures Homeward Trust released Tuesday showing a 24 per cent decrease in homelessness since 2014.

“They don’t reflect what we’re seeing and they don’t reflect any evidence, empirical or anecdotal, that we have about homelessness in the city,” Daly said.

“Anyone on the front line, anyone that has any experience working with homeless folk … knows that this cannot be accurate.”

Daly said he has actually seen a “significant increase” in homelessness.

He says there has been a dramatic increase of people using Boyle Street to pick up their mail, up from 1,600 in 2015 to 2,200 this year – all people who do not have a fixed address.

The number of people accessing Boyle Street’s drop-in for hot meals continues to grow as well, Daly says.

He says Boyle Street outreach teams have worked with 800 people living without homes in the river valley this year alone, which marks a 43 per cent increase – whereas the Homeless Count pegged the number of river valley dwellers at 284.

Daly is concerned that the Homeless Count’s positive outlook will lead to a reduction in crucial services and resources for people experiencing homelessness.  

Homeward Trust CEO Susan McGee said she was “surprised” by the critique Wednesday, after working with Boyle Street staff for months to determine how to get the best coverage in the October count.

“I don’t think that there has ever been a suggestion that the count would have captured absolutely everybody,” McGee said.

“Having said that, we are very confident in how we did the count and the methodology.”

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