The City of Vancouver announced on Wednesday it is cancelling its annual homeless count for 2021.
Citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the city said in a statement that the cancellation is intended to minimize the risk of any transmission as a result of the count, which is run by volunteers.
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“We are grateful to the hundreds of volunteers that have been involved every year – it couldn’t be done without them,” the city said. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic… the 2021 homeless count is not possible.”
Instead, the city said this year, staff will be “collecting alternative data to provide an insight” into the homelessness situation in the city, and will report their findings to council this fall.
The City of Vancouver started conducting an annual count in 2010. The count takes place throughout the city over a 24-hour period in March, inside shelters during the evening, and on the streets the next day.
Homeless counts have taken place across the Metro Vancouver region every three years since 2002.
Last year’s count found that in Metro Vancouver, 2,095 residents identified as homeless, 547 people were living on the street, and 1,548 people were living in sheltered locations, including emergency shelters, detox centres, safe houses, and hospitals, with no fixed address.