The number of Edmontonians without homes has dipped to levels unseen since 2004, reversing a decade-long trend, a new survey suggests.

The 2010 Homeless?Count shows a drop of 658 people in the homeless population since the survey was last conducted in 2008 — a 21 per cent decline.

Homeward Trust Edmonton, a non-profit group, conducted the city-wide survey on Oct. 5, with the help of more than 300 volunteers and assistance from Edmonton shelters.

“(The count) is meant to get an idea of trends and demographics,” said Homeward Trust Edmonton communications manager Alex Abboud.?He added that the report shows “early encouraging signs.”

The report showed that 75 per cent of the homeless population is male, while 63 per cent of all homeless are considered “absolute” homeless, meaning they have no housing alternatives, including shelters.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” Abboud said, “but we’ve stopped a decade-long trend.”

At a tally of 2,421 recorded homeless people, this marks the first time since the inaugural survey in 1999 that there has been a decrease in the total number of Edmonton’s homeless population.

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