The provincial government says homeless counts will be carried out in up to 12 communities across B-C over the next few weeks. The counts will be co-ordinated by the province and the results will help develop permanent housing and services. The province says they are expanding outside of major urban areas because higher costs for shelter and a lack of affordable housing mean more residents in smaller communities are homeless, or face a greater risk of homelessness. A homeless count was underway Monday in Williams Lake and counts are already complete in Prince Rupert and the Comox Valley. Similar initiatives are slated for Campbell River, the Parksville region, Port Alberni, Sechelt, Penticton, Merritt, Fort St. John and Smithers, with a date still pending for a homeless count in Cranbrook. Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Nelson and Prince George will use federal funds to conduct their counts, and a government news release says the data from those tallies will be added to details from similar ones in Duncan, Vernon, Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.