Homelessness in Vancouver increases 6% since 2015: report

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Image: Homeless Shelter / Shutterstock

The city released their 2016 homelessness count on Tuesday morning, and it seems the problem isn’t getting any better – Vancouver saw a 6% increase in homelessness since last year.

In 2015, there were a total of 1,258 people living in shelters and 488 living on the streets. Those numbers jumped to 1,308 and 539 for 2016, respectively.

Image: Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank Projects

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“The homeless count results are disappointing, considering the aggressive approach the City has taken over the last five years help people who are homeless and to address the root causes of homelessness,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement. 

Robertson says the City has done more than enough for Vancouver’s homeless population and that it’s the federal and provincial government’s turn to step in to help solve the issue. The city’s next step will be to advocate for the construction of affordable housing on 20 parcels of land they’ve reserved for that purpose.

The report also found that homeless youth in Vancouver are more likely to identify as LGBTQ and have substance abuse issues and less likely to have an income than their adult counterparts.

Beyond that, the homeless count found that:

  • 61% have been homeless for less than a year
  • 78% have a physical or mental health condition
  • 71% have been in Vancouver for less than a year or have come from outside Metro Vancouver

In response to dwindling SRO vacancy rates in Vancouver, the city will provide a $2 million grant to upgrade ones operated by non-profits. A new Aboriginal shelter and two modular housing projects for people on fixed incomes are planned as well in response to the homelessness count report.

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