Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay speaks on the Metro Vancouver homeless count.

VIDEO: 3,600 people homeless in Metro Vancouver

Preliminary numbers suggest a 30-per-cent increase since 2014




The number of homeless people in Metro Vancouver has increased by 30 per cent in the past three years, according to stats released Monday.

Preliminary numbers show that 3,605 people were homeless on the day of the count back in March. Of that number, 2,573 were considered sheltered homeless.

READ: Metro Vancouver homeless count underway

Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay told reporters at an event in Surrey that the rise in homelessness was a disappointment, but not a surprise.

“We just need to do more because these counts continue to rise,” said Clay. “Looking at some different ways of addressing the problem. Some of these problems aren’t just a matter of putting more money in but targeting proper money and resources in different areas.”

READ: Fraser Valley homelessness up 74 per cent

The cities that saw the biggest rises since the 2014 count were Delta/White Rock with a 142-per-cent increase, Langley with 124 per cent, and the Tri-Cities with a 113 per cent. The only area to report fewer homeless people was the North Shore.

Vancouver had the highest number of homeless, with 2,138 people counted. Surrey was second with 602 people and Langley was third with 2016.

Metro Vancouver Homeless Count 2014 vs. 2017Create column charts

As housing costs go up in the region, Council of Community Homelessness Tables chair Jonquil Hallgate said, the middle class is being pushed into housing that was once affordable for the lower class.

“It pushes everybody else down the ladder. People who marginally might have been able to afford a place to live become the next level of people who are homeless,” said Hallgate.

READ: Advocates say $1.8B per year will tackle B.C.’s affordable housing crisis

According to BC Non-Profit Housing Association count coordinator Peer-Daniel Krause, this year’s count has seen a sharp climb in the number of homeless camps. Volunteers counted 70 in 2017.

“There’s an upward trend [in homeless camps] all across the region,” said Krause.

The 2017 count was the first count during an emergency weather response, which led Metro Vancouver to open extra shelters. While the extra shelters can make it easier to do the count, it can also skew statistics.

“It may bias the data to men because we know that women and youth are more likely to access friend and family support networks [instead of shelters],” said Krause.

Detailed demographic data haven’t yet been released, but initial stats indicate a spike in First Nations homelessness.

“There is a serious overrepresentation of homeless Aboriginal people in this region,” said Lu’Ma Native Housing Society director Claire Marshall.

Less than 10 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s population is First Nation, but one-third of the region’s  homeless identify as First Nations.

Marshall said the supports being provided aren’t working.

“In the Aboriginal community, they’re not accessing the emergency shelters as much as the mainstream population,” said Marshall. “It could be about looking at those shelters and what can be done so Aboriginal people feel that those are places that they are welcome to go to.”

Youth aging out of care are finding themselves with nowhere to go, added Lorraine Copas, chair of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy community advisory board.

“Many of them end up being graduated to the streets,” said Copas. “There have been conversations with Ministry of Children and Family Development about this, whether at 19, youth really are able to fend for themselves.”

Income assistance has stalled at $610 for a decade, Copas added.

On the other end of the scale, seniors are increasingly accessing emergency shelters.

“We’re talking about seniors in their seventies and eighties now relying on emergency shelters because old age security and the guaranteed income supplement aren’t keeping up,” said Copas.

 


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 has exacerbated the drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Surrey, White Rock officials say isolation, CERB, contributing to crisis

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read

l -->