There appears to be little change in the homeless population in Merritt.

That according to this year’s ASK Wellness Society homeless count. ASK Wellness provides an array of social services in communities throughout the Interior.

“This year we counted 17 absolutely homeless,” says spokesperson Keri Cooke. “It’s fairly consistent with the past four years. In 2016 we had 15, 2015 we counted 16 and in 2014 there was 23.”

She cautions however the number of people without permanent homes could be much higher.

“Our count only takes into account those who are absolutely homeless. Meaning they slept outside, they slept under a bridge, a stairwell. It doesn’t take into account those who are couch surfing or are the hidden homeless.”

Of those 17 people, Cooke says 14 were male, 3 female, all were adults with a mean age somewhere near their mid-40s.