The latest Metro Vancouver Homeless Count has found a region-wide increase in the number of people without a permanent place to call home.
In total, 3,605 people in the region were identified as homeless.
This is an increase of 30% from the last time the count was done in 2014.
Held every three years, the homeless count is meant to provide a conservative estimate of homelessness over a 24-hour period in Metro Vancouver.
“This latest count shows us that the homelessness crisis continues to grow despite all previous efforts and commitments to stem the tide,” said Metro Vancouver’s Mike Clay in a statement.
“Homelessness is no longer a problem isolated to densely-populated urban areas – it now affects every corner of Metro Vancouver.”
This year’s count was the first one held on a night when an emergency weather response was issued.
Approximately 1,200 volunteers dealt with snow and cold as they walked the streets, visited shelters, and conducted surveys over a 24-hour period between March 7 and 8.
“Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues faced by communities across Canada,” said Lorraine Copas, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Homelessness Partnering Strategy Community Advisory Board. “The harsh effects of homelessness cannot be overlooked.”
This year’s findings, she said, “remind us of the importance of continuing to work together to find ways to address the needs of those who face a constant struggle in finding and keeping a place that they can afford.”
A final report on the 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver will be released in the summer.