In-depth results from A Way Home Kamloops’ second youth homelessness count last year will be released on Thursday at Kamloops United Church, downtown at St. Paul Street and Fourth Avenue.
During a three-day period last year, from May 8 to May 10, more than 1,000 surveys were completed by youth ages 13 to 24, with 136 youth identified as homeless or experiencing homelessness over the course of a year.
Of those youth, 56 said they were currently experiencing visible homelessness, most of whom (35) were sleeping in public on the street or in empty buildings. Meanwhile, 30 youth said they were experiencing hidden homelessness, including couch-surfing, and 50 said they had experienced homelessness in the past year.
The presentation on Thursday will provide more information — including on sub-populations such as those younger than 19 and Indigenous youth — as well as recommendations to prevent and end youth homelessness in Kamloops.
The city is at the forefront when it comes to youth homelessness counts across the country. In 2016, A Way Home Kamloops was the first Canadian community to launch such an initiative. A Way Home executive director Katherine McParland is also the subject of a Storyhive documentary pitch, which is currently vying among others for funding.
McParland, a well-known local advocate for homeless youth, was once herself homeless. Last year, she was awarded the YMCA-YWCA Peace Medal.