The Regional Municipality Of York


I Count - I'm Not Just A Number

2018 I Count Findings

Results of the first province-wide count of homelessness revealed at least 389 people as experiencing homelessness in York Region.

Results of the count revealed there is no ‘typical’ profile of someone experiencing homelessness. People surveyed ranged in age, household composition, income and reasons why they become homeless.

Thank you to all our volunteers and participants for making it happen.

2018 I Count Findings Report

We don’t want people experiencing homelessness to think they’re just another statistic and nothing more.

Our aim is to empower those experiencing homelessness to believe:

I Count wordmark

“I count. I’m not just a number.”

That’s why from April 17 to 20, 2018, York Region and its community partners will not only be counting people experiencing homelessness, but more importantly:

  • Connect with as many people as possible to better understand the scope of homelessness in our community
  • Help connect people to the right services and supports
  • Prioritize individuals with the highest need to help them get supports to become housed

I Count will do more than just count people. It will help York Region and its partners prevent, reduce and end homelessness.

For more information call Access York at 1-877-464-YORK (9675).

“I count.” – Glen’s Story

“I count.” – Katie’s Story

“I count.” – Tristan’s Story


I Count: Homelessness Count Flickr Album


How you can help

We’re counting on you to help. There are several ways you can help with I Count:


Thank you for your interest in volunteering with I Count. Registration for volunteers has now closed.

If you would like to add your name to a wait list or would like additional information on other volunteer opportunities please contact

For more information on the homeless count or if you are interested in other community volunteer opportunities with organizations serving people who are experiencing homelessness, call Homelessness Community Programs at 1-877-464-YORK (9675) ext. 74906.

Promote I Count

You can help promote I Count in your neighbourhood, business, agency, places of worship or on social media using #icountYR. Use the I Count posters and videos below to help get the word out.

Help others understand the facts about homelessness listed below. The more people who know about I Count and take part, the better off our community will be. York Region is a caring community. Help us help our most vulnerable residents get the supports they need.

Hidden Homelessness - Olivia and Grace

Hi, my name is Olivia and this is my daughter Grace. I’m a single mom, who grew up exposed to many different kinds of abuse – verbal, physical, and sexual. When Grace was born, looking after her was the most important thing. But, because I was suffering from anxiety and depression, it was hard for me to work a full-time job, and everything became really overwhelming. I was trying to be the best parent I could, but had a lot of childhood trauma myself that hadn’t been dealt with. When we lost our house, I didn’t know where to go. The safest place I could think of was to sleep in our car, hidden away in parking lots or at the back of buildings where no one would see. It felt awful having to expose my daughter to this new way of life. We rely on food banks and other support programs around to survive day by day. We’ve got a place to sleep now at night, and hope to have our own space again soon.

In York Region, Olivia and Grace count. They are not just a number.

Hidden Homelessness - Jamie

Hi, I’m Jamie and I’m 18 years old. I grew up in an abusive home, and rarely feel safe anywhere. I’ve been in and out of the hospital, and have tried staying in group homes, but it’s all really scary. I don’t have many friends, and have tried to commit suicide a couple of times. The few friends I do have let me sleep on their couch when I have nowhere else to go. I attend some drop-in programs, and stay in public spaces for as long as I can during the day. Sometimes, I’ve stayed up all night sitting in fast food restaurants to stay safe and keep warm.

In York Region, Jamie counts. She is not just a number.

Hidden Homelessness - John

Hi, my name is John and I didn’t grow up in this area. I moved here from another province a few years ago, and don’t have any family around. I applied for Ontario Works, and meet regularly with my caseworker, but it’s hard to find a place to rent. I’ve looked at a lot of apartments, but the landlords don’t seem to like me and always want proof of employment, credit checks, and a ton of paperwork. It’s really hard to get this information together when you’re out on the street, and then the place is given to someone else. I recently got a full-time job and go to work Monday to Friday, but it’s not easy when you don’t have a permanent address to go back to every night. Life on the streets is really hard, and no one really understands unless you’ve been through it yourself.

In York Region, John counts. He is not just a number.

Hidden Homelessness - Brian

Hi, my name is Brian and I’m struggling with mental health and addictions. My life wasn’t always like this – I worked hard at a job for most of my life, paid my bills on time, and had enough food to eat. A couple of years ago, I got injured while I was working. I lost my job and eventually got evicted from the apartment I was living in. I didn’t know where to go. I started sleeping at friend’s places, until they kicked me out too. Pretty soon I ran out of friends to turn to, and I ended up on the street. I had all my personal belongings with me, and learned how to get by while living in a tent. I’ve been in and out of men’s shelters and detox centres. I’m working with a number of programs and people now to help me get back on track.

In York Region, Brian counts. He is not just a number.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Understand the facts

There are many misconceptions around homelessness. Knowing the facts is key to understanding the challenges faced by the most vulnerable people in our community and developing solutions to help them.

Here are some facts about homelessness in York Region:

  • For many residents, York Region is a vibrant and prosperous place to live and work. But for some, being homeless is a daily reality just as it is in all communities across the country
  • Research shows that homelessness affects all ages and demographics
  • Homelessness is often the result of many factors. Factors such as physical or mental illness, personal or family crisis, job loss, rising housing costs and low income contribute to this very complex problem 
  • Homelessness is not a York Region specific issue. There is an estimated 235,000 people across Canada who are homeless
  • It’s estimated that 80 per cent of homelessness in Canada is hidden. Unfortunately, this 80 per cent can be found couch surfing, staying with family or friends or living in a car – because they have nowhere else to go.  This means they may not be getting the support they need. We want to change that
  • Although it’s estimated that less than one per cent of York Region residents are homeless, homelessness affects the entire community economically and socially. It is estimated that homelessness costs the Canadian economy more than seven billion dollars annually
  • Prevention costs less than housing someone who is homeless. The longer someone is homeless the more they rely on expensive crisis supports such as emergency rooms, financial assistance and emergency housing
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

What we're doing to help

We want to help York Region’s homeless

York Region is committed to ensuring that everyone has a home that is safe and affordable.

If you or someone you know is sleeping at a friend’s house or out on the streets, you are not alone. York Region wants to help. Please call or have them call Access York at 1-877-464-YORK (9675).


Preventing homelessness is a key priority for York Region. Some recent achievements include:

I Count will help us do even more as we work towards preventing, reducing and ending homelessness.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

York Region’s I Count homelessness enumeration is funded through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI). The CHPI has received funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

homelessness,counting,housing The Regional Municipality of York en-US A photo of a woman and child in a car. To you, it's a car. To Olivia and Grace, it's home I Count - I'm Not Just A Number York Region conducted a survey of people who are homeless in April 2018 to better understand homelessness in our community.

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