OTTAWA -- City of Ottawa staff are spending 24 hours speaking with the city's homeless population in a bid to develop a snapshot of the homelessness situation in the capital and help develop programs and services to meet their needs.

As part of the 24-hour 'Point-in-Time' Count, city staff, in collaboration with 53 partner agencies, are aiming to speak with residents experiencing homelessness on the streets, in shelters and other areas. The data will help all levels of government develop and implement services, programs and policies that reflect the needs of residents.

During the Point-in-Time Count in April 2018, city staff interviewed 1,400 individuals and families at 118 enumeration sites across Ottawa.  Sixty per cent of respondents identified as male, and 36 per cent identified as female.

The oldest person surveyed was 81 years old, while nine people were all 16 years old.  A total of 59 per cent of the homeless population surveyed in Ottawa three years ago were aged 24 through 49.

The 2021 Point-in-Time Count started at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, and will continue until 12 p.m. Thursday.

The city says the count will be conducted in several locations, including: where people staying on the streets spend time, emergency shelters, violence-against-women shelters, Indigenous agencies, community health centres, hospitals, correctional centres and transitional housing.

The city of Ottawa says Housing Services also has designed walking routes that include known locations of people living on the streets.

Participants will answer a survey about their demographics, family status and history, citizenship, health conditions, race, sexual orientation, language, Indigenous ancestry, reasons for homelessness, military service, child welfare experience and source of income.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury tweeted on Wednesday he was conducting interviews at the Ottawa Mission as part of the survey.

The Point-in-Time Count must be conducted to fulfill provincial and federal requirements for municipalities to conduct local enumeration of people experiencing homelessness every two years.