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Homeless Enumeration - Issue Report - April 22, 2021

Report To: Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board

From: Lori Clark, Director of Integrated Social Services (A)
Kristian Thorne, Community Housing Program Supervisor (A)

Date: April 22, 2021

Re: Homeless Enumeration - Issue Report


The purpose of this report is to provide the DSB Board with information on the Homeless Enumeration. 


In March 2020, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) communicated to Service Managers and sector organizations its intention to introduce By-Name Lists across Ontario in 2021. Over the past months, MMAH has engaged with a select group of Service Managers and experts to inform Ontario’s By-Name List approach and homeless enumeration in 2021.

In February 2021, MMAH provided Service Managers a letter regarding next steps for the implementation of By-Name Lists and enumeration by Service Managers in 2021.

On March 19, 2021, MMAH provided Service Managers with guidelines giving details on the requirements and standards for developing and maintaining a By-Name List and for conducting local homeless enumeration.


Service Managers are expected to begin developing their By-Name List in April 2021 and have it operational by January 1, 2022. The By-Name List must include people experiencing homelessness across the entire Service Manager area, who consent to be on the list. Service Managers need to develop policies and procedures that protect privacy and confidentiality, ensure each person is only listed once and that information is updated at least once every threemonths.Service Managers are also required to enumerate homelessness in 2021, using a Point- in-Time Count to provide a snapshot of homelessness in their communities. The Point- in-Time Count includes collecting demographic information about people experiencing homelessness using a set of 17 common questions that align with the enumeration approach used by the federal Reaching Home program. 

2021 Changes to Enumeration Requirements

To improve the province’s enumeration approach, the following changes were made:

  • The requirements introduce more consistency in methods used to conduct the count so that data can be used to provide point-in-time snapshots for homelessness across the
  • Service Managers have greater discretion determining the timing of their enumeration
  • Reporting requirements have been reduced to providing aggregate information using a standard Ministry
  • Enumeration is to be used as an opportunity to add people experiencing homelessness o the BY-Name List to help connect them to



Recognizing the value of strong, reliable, and consistent data to inform policy, programs, and services at both the provincial and Service Manager levels, the objectives of local homeless enumeration are: 

  • To provide a snapshot of homelessness, including information on the scope and nature of homelessness in communities across
  • To provide information about people experiencing homelessness and their needs to inform the development of programs and services and identify emerging
  • To provide information about whether programs and initiatives are having the desired impact on homelessness and to drive continuous improvement in service delivery and program 


By-Name List Requirements

Service Managers are expected to begin developing their By-Name List in April 2021, with implementation meeting minimum Ministry requirements by December 31, 2021 and the By-Name List must be operational January 1st, 2022. The development of an initial B-Name List would be considered implemented. A By-Name List is considered operational if the Service Manager has policies and procedures to systematically update and use the By- Name List to connect people to services.

Service Managers must implement an approach that provides a By-Name List that covers their entire Service Manager area. At a minimum, Service Manager By-Name Lists are expected to include people experiencing homelessness who use MMAH-funded services, including outreach. Service Managers are encouraged  to include other services, where possible.

To provide a consistent approach across the Service Manager area, Service Managers should use a common assessment / intake / screening tool or include a set of common questions to collect information from clients. 

Service Managers are responsible for selecting the tool or tools that work best for their communities, based on local needs and priorities. Approaches for collecting information from clients can be adjusted, as appropriate, for specific populations.

Funding & Reporting

There is no new funding to complete the By-Name List homelessness enumeration. As in past years’ Service Managers are expected use the administration component of the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) funding to pay for enumeration. CHPI guidelines normally allow 10% for administration, but the province has allowed Service Manager to allocate 15% towards administration in order to cover the costs of enumeration. This does however mean, there will be 5% less available for homeless programming. 

Service Managers are required to provide anonymous, aggregate data to the Ministry following the completion of their Point-in-Time Count. This data will be used to understand homelessness across the province and will inform future policy and program development.


The Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB is exploring the option to complete this work jointly with the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA). Details of this process will be examined further with all NOSDA representatives. Staff will keep the board apprised of the process as staff move along with this work.