Volunteers will act as enumerators, recording responses to a short survey designed to gather basic demographic information from people they encounter over the course of their shift. Teams of volunteers fan out across the city to conduct the survey on predetermined routes, including areas close to drop-in centres, libraries, temporary employment agencies, bottle depots, and other places. Your volunteer contributions are part of a much larger community effort during the Homeless Count. Many service providers, outreach teams, public agencies, and community partners are also supporting this valuable work
The training sessions are mandatory. This is to ensure that all volunteers are prepared in advance, and have an opportunity to ask questions of the event organizers. At the training session you will also receive your assignment, volunteer package, identification, and will sign your confidentiality agreement and waiver. It is important to note that because the questions have changed, training is very important so data quality can be maintained at a high standard.
We are committed to ensuring your volunteer experience with us is a positive and fulfilling one. During your shift, you will be assigned to a base site and base site coordinator, who are available if you need additional support or have any questions or concerns.
Orientation dates are:
- Thursday October 6, 2016, 5:15 pm at Central Lion's Club (11113 - 113 Street)
- Monday October 17, 2016, 5:15 pm at Central Lion's Club (11113 - 113 Street)
Tech support will be available before and after the orientation for those who may need it.
This year we are seeking volunteers to work at various locations and as much as possible we will consider your preferences in placement. We require volunteers for:
- The night count on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 - 10 pm.
- Single location sites and walking routes for the day count Thursday, October 20, 2016, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Shifts will range from two hours to five hours, to accommodate specific site needs. Longer shifts will streamline the shift change process and allow for more room in the volunteer rest areas. Volunteers on longer shifts will have a scheduled break. Light snacks and refreshments will be available. Some walking routes and base sites may be changed to accommodate the changing demographics.
Our goal is to pair volunteers according to their skills and experience. For example, a seasoned Homeward Trust volunteer may be paired with a new volunteer. This is to ensure a level of expertise with all volunteer pairings. We cannot guarantee volunteer requests can be met at this time, however we will do our best to accommodate.
Only volunteers over the age of 18 will be accepted for enumerating positions. There may be limited positions available for assistance with the orientation training and at base sites for individuals age 16 or 17.
This year, Edmonton’s survey is standardized with other cities across Canada and will be collected primarily through electronic data collection. Volunteers will be encouraged to bring their own devices (smartphone or tablet, does not have to be data-enabled) to collect data using a simple, easy-to-use app. Additional tablets will be available for volunteers who are unable to provide their own. There are significant advantages to electronic data collection – volunteers do not have to worry about managing or misplacing paperwork and the data analysis and results tabulation can occur much more quickly. The survey itself includes several clear, focused questions to help collect demographic information about individuals experiencing homelessness, and volunteers will receive training on how to administer the survey. All experience levels are welcome, and if you have any questions or concerns about electronic data collection please feel free to contact us!
There is no collection of data based on volunteer observation. Only responses offered by participants will be recorded. The 7 Cities in Alberta (Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray) will all be conducting the Count on the same day. Some changes are being made this year to ensure the same questions are being asked across all of Alberta and most of Canada. The most obvious change to methodology in Edmonton is the addition of an outdoor night count, which will provide much more comparable numbers with other Alberta cities.
Also new this year, the survey will be completed online via an app downloaded onto smartphones and tablets. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own devices, if possible.
Things to Remember
- This ambitious project is only possible through the efforts of our wonderful volunteers who freely give of their time to and offer their skills for the Count.
- It is important to remember that the Count cannot be done without the incredible efforts of many volunteers. Honouring each shift commitment allows Homeward Trust to help Edmonton's most vulnerable populations.
- Please also remember to take the weather into account. This project is done outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather.