A volunteer speaks with a man in Whalley during the March 8 homeless count in Surrey.

A volunteer speaks with a man in Whalley during the March 8 homeless count in Surrey.

Homeless count more than doubles in White Rock/Delta

The homeless count reported that there are 46 homeless people living in White Rock/Delta

Homelessness in White Rock/Delta has increased by 142 per cent over the past three years, according to findings from the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count.

The homeless count – which lumped White Rock and Delta numbers together – reported that there are 46 homeless people living in White Rock/Delta, a jump from 19 people noted in the 2014 homeless count.

Delta has an approximate population of 100,000, whereas White Rock has a population of approximately 20,000. However, Sources Food Bank manager Jaye Murray, who volunteered for the count, estimated that approximately half of the 46 recorded homeless people in the White Rock/Delta category are from White Rock.

Even that number, Murray says, is lower than the reality.

“I know it is,” she said.

A struggle with the count – which is conducted in shelters, by street walks and count hubs – is that it misses people who are couch surfing, which make up a portion of food bank clientele, Murray said.

She said although the count number might not be completely accurate, the trend of increasing homelessness is.

The 2014 count recorded four homeless people living in White Rock proper. The 2017 statistics do not have a breakdown specifically for White Rock.

A total of 602 homeless people were counted in Surrey, 399 sheltered and 203 unsheltered. (Statistics from South Surrey are part of the Surrey statistics.)

That’s a 49 per cent increase (199 more people) over the number counted in 2014.

Surrey’s homeless count had remained relatively stagnant over the last few counts. In 2005, the count identified 392 people as homeless, 402 in 2008, 400 in 2011 and 403 in 2014.

Members of the Peninsula Homeless to Housing task force have routinely taken issue with the 403 number, indicating the number should be 1,200.

Jonquil Hallgate, a longtime homeless advocate, helped run this year’s Surrey survey and said it’s widely considered an undercount. People must admit they are homeless in order to be included.

“The count doesn’t give us the number we believe is the reality,” she said on March 8.

For this year’s count, aboriginal people made up 18 per cent (137) of Surrey’s counted homeless. According to a 2011 Statistics Canada census, 2.4 per cent of Surrey residents identify as aboriginal.

Youth – defined as those under age 25 – made up 17 per cent (63).

Region-wide, 828 more homeless people were identified in the 2017 count compared to 2014, representing a 30 per cent increase in homelessness, and the highest number the count – in its 16th year – has seen.

Metro Vancouver is calling on all provincial parties to commit to implementing its recommended action plan developed by the Regional Homelessness Task Force, which identifies 12 key priorities including the opening of 1,000 additional units of transitional housing per year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“Along with the federal commitment in last month’s budget to invest more than $11 billion over 10 years for affordable housing, these count numbers should serve as a wakeup call to all provincial parties that homelessness needs to be a top priority,” said Nicole Read, co-chair of the Regional Homelessness Task Force.

“Throwing money at the problem is not going to make it go away – money needs to be invested more wisely, because the current system is failing miserably.”

-with files from Amy Reid

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read