• What is a Street Census?

    A Street Census is a survey conducted over a 24 hour period to gather information about the extent and nature of homelessness in Winnipeg. Though some cities call these projects “Point in Time Counts” of homelessness, we have chosen the term Street Census because the project will involve more than simply counting people; the methodology is designed to increase understanding of the demographics of those who are experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg, and what they identify as their service needs.

  • When is the Street Census?

    The Street Census will occur on October 25 – 26, 2015.

  • Why is a Street Census important?

    Conducting a Street Census is essential to all communities. We currently do not have reliable estimates on who and how many people are homeless in Winnipeg. We cannot say with certainty if homelessness is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.

    The Street Census is a tally of who is homeless on a given day and provides a snapshot of who experiences homelessness throughout the year.

    • Findings from the Street Census will demonstrate the housing and service needs specific to Winnipeg
    • The Street Census will provide information to aid community organizations, funders and all levels of government plan for the funding and service needs of homeless persons in Winnipeg
    • Data from the Street Census, when done in future years, can tell us how successful we have been in addressing homelessness
  • What kind of information will be gathered during the Street Census?

    The Street Census will include indicators of how many people are experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg, where they stay, and how long/how many times they have been homeless.

    It will also gather demographic information like age, gender, Aboriginal and newcomer status.

  • Why is the Street Census completed in 24 hours?

    The methodology of the Street Census has been used in many communities across Canada and other parts of the world. It is done over 24 hours to reduce duplication and to make it as cost and resource effective as possible. Because it is the same method used in many cities, it will be possible to compare results across Canada

  • How will you reach everyone experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg?/ Where will you do the Survey?

    Any enumeration of homeless populations is only an estimate. This is because invisibility is a survival strategy for many people who are homeless. The Street Census in Winnipeg uses the following methodology to provide the best possible estimate:

    • Street Survey- the street survey will reach people living in public/private places without contract or places not intended as a shelter. A map of where the volunteers walk for the street survey will be available in the report.
    • Sheltered Survey- the sheltered survey includes all emergency/ domestic violence shelters and transitional housing in Winnipeg.
    • Indoor Known Locations Survey- takes place in participating drop-in centres, ministries, resource centres, soup kitchens, etc., and reaches individuals that may have been missed in the street or sheltered surveys.
    • Data from agencies/government- includes those living in institutions (e.g. hospitals, prisons) who do not have a permanent address.
  • What about people who are couch surfing?

    People who are couch-surfing (hidden homeless) are a significant portion of the homeless population. Youth, women and families are more likely to stay with friends, family or even strangers when they experience homelessness than to go to shelters or stay outside. However, the point-in-time methodology will not provide a reliable estimate of this group. Instead, the Street Census Partners have decided to survey this population through the Street Survey and Indoor Known Locations Survey. More information will be provided through qualitative research with people experiencing hidden homelessness, which will be included in the final report.

  • How will you avoid duplication (surveying the same person twice)?

    Though duplication is a challenge for all homeless surveys because we will not be gathering information that can identify people (name, ID numbers), research from other cities has shown that all homeless ‘counts’ are underestimates of the population. For every person surveyed, many more are missed. However, the following methods will be used to reduce duplication:

    • The surveys collect specific information about each individual who is surveyed (i.e. date of birth, gender). This information will be used to estimate duplication across surveys.
    • Interviewers will wear identifiable buttons on their clothing and ask people if they have already taken part in the survey.
  • Who will be conducting the surveys?

    Surveys will be conducted by approximately 250 trained volunteers, including people who have experience of homelessness, in addition to service provider staff and outreach workers.

  • Will there be training available for volunteers?

    Yes, all volunteers will receive training in interviewing and survey recording, cultural safety for participants, safety for themselves, and ethical research with people experiencing homelessness. The training will include confidentiality and consent requirements. All survey teams will include one experienced professional in the social services sector and individuals with lived experience of homelessness, whenever possible. Debriefing will be available to all volunteers.

  • What are the requirements to volunteer?

    Volunteers do not have to have experience working with people who are homeless, though this is an asset. We are looking for volunteers who have strong English communication skills, are good listeners and are non-judgmental. Volunteers must be 18 or older and can come with a friend or on their own (we will match them with a team). We have a set number of honourariums available for people with lived experience of homelessness who want to be involved, for more information about these contact

    Brent Retzlaff


    (204) 956-4344

  • What is the time commitment?

    Volunteers will be asked to be available for a mandatory 2 hour training (3 hours for team leads) in the weeks before the Street Census and a minimum of a 4 hour volunteer shift the evening of October 25 or day of October 26.

  • What can agencies expect for their clients/participants on the day of the Street Census?

    Posters and handouts about the Street Census will be available for agencies to post in advance.

    Volunteers will arrive at your agency at a pre-arranged, designated time and/or may be visible within the general location of your agency. Volunteers will talk one-on-one with individuals who are interested in completing the survey and this will be done in the style of a short interview (about 10 minutes each).

    All participants, including those who access your services, will be informed of their right to privacy and confidentiality. Clients will be respected regardless of their decision to participate or decline participation at any point during the survey. Individuals who decide not to interact with interviewers or who are asleep will not be disturbed. No identifying information will be collected from interviewees therefore the interview participants will remain anonymous.

    The services of existing outreach teams or staff at your agency (depending on the agency and advance agreement) will be sought so that if an interviewee requires assistance, the interviewer can connect that person to resources immediately. Interviewees will also be provided with information about the Street Census with contact information so they can ask questions or raise concerns about the project.

  • Who is involved in the Street Census?

    Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre                        

    Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba

    Macdonald Youth Services

    Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg

    Mount Carmel Clinic

    EAGLE Urban Transition Centre

    Resource Assistance for Youth

    Institute of Urban Studies

    Rossbrook House

    John Howard Society of Manitoba

    Salvation Army Booth Centre Winnipeg

    Lived Experience Circle

    Siloam Mission

    Main Street Project

    Spence Neighbourhood Association

    West Central Women's Resource Centre

    Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council

    The project is funded by the Homelessness Partnering Strategy through the Government of Canada. Many other community agencies are supporting through participation on planning groups, providing administrative data, and assisting with the survey at their locations.

  • When will results become available?

    Initial results will be provided publicly at a media release on November 25 and the final reports will be available December 15, 2015.

  • I am an individual/volunteer/agency that would like to become involved with the Street Census. Who can I contact for further details?

    If you would like to become a volunteer for the Winnipeg Street Census please contact:

    Brent Retzlaff


    (204) 956-4344

    If you would like to request that your agency be considered as a surveying location for the Winnipeg Street Census please contact:

    Christina Maes Nino



    If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the Winnipeg Street Census please contact:

    Christina Maes Nino