The YMCA in Regina is asking for volunteers to take part in their Point-in-Time Count, an initiative to gauge the number of homeless people in the city.

Volunteers taking part in the count are asked to gather info, such as the number of people sleeping rough, meaning they are sleeping on streets, in parks or in other public areas and the number of people in the shelter system.

Organizers say the count will develop a deeper understanding of homelessness in the city.

“This count will give more context to (the) conversation surrounding homelessness in Regina, helping to understand trends and who is impacted,” said Shawn Fraser, the YMCA of Regina’s senior director of partnership initiatives.

“This will fit in as kind of like a puzzle piece, so we’ll be able to figure out how many people and how many existing services there are,” said PiT-Count Coordinator, Addison Docherty.

“There are services in Regina, but I think it’s a matter of figuring out what the number is, because after you get a more accurate number, you can determine what kinds of resources and budget you need. But there are a lot of people that do a lot of great work in the city.”

It will be the organization’s second PiT-Count, with the first occurring in 2015. The 2015 count found 232 people in the city to be sleeping rough or in shelter systems. That event had approximately 150 volunteers, a turnout organizers are hoping to match with this year’s count. Refreshments and snacks will be provided to volunteers, in addition to training.

“We’ll have training beforehand at the downtown YMCA in kind of a kickoff event before we send people out to their areas,” said Docherty. “They’ll be trained so they kind of have some expectations and some applicable knowledge of what they’re getting into before they head out.”

This year’s event will be one of many that aim to collect info on the homeless population across Canada.

“There is actually 70 communities across the country that are participating in this, either in March or April,” said Docherty. “It will give the federal government, the Government of Canada, a greater understanding of what homelessness (and) the homelessness situation looks like across the entire country.”

The 2018 count is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, April 18.

Potential participants can gather more info and register on the Regina YMCA’s website.

(PHOTO: Poster for the PiT count. Photo credit