Greater Vancouver homeless count underway for first time since pandemic

Mar 8 2023, 7:06 pm

More than 1,000 volunteers are out on the streets of Metro Vancouver today for the first homeless count since before the pandemic.

The surveyors are speaking to homeless individuals to collect demographic information and get a picture of how many people are living without housing in the region.

“By having a deeper understanding about individuals’ identities and recognizing that homelessness is a very real part of every community, agencies and all levels of government [can] advance solutions,” executive director of BC’s Homelessness Services Association Stephen D’Souza said in a news release.

The homeless count is a point-in-time survey, and doesn’t capture everyone who’s living without housing — those who are couch surfing or living in vehicles, for example, may be missed by surveyors.

“We try to ensure that everyone who is experiencing homelessness or is unconventionally housed is counted,” said Lorraine Copas, chair of the Greater Vancouver Community Advisory Board for Reaching Home. “If you’re currently staying with friends, sleeping in a vehicle, or are otherwise living without a place to pay rent, call 211 on March 8th to complete a short, anonymous survey.”

The last time the count was conducted, in March 2020 just before the first COVID-19 lockdown, surveyors met with more than 3,600 people living without housing in Metro Vancouver.

The results of the 2023 homeless count will be available in the fall.

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