Homelessness is at its highest level in Vancouver since the city started the annual Homeless Count – back in 2002 – it was revealed today.
Those findings were part of a presentation to Vancouver city council on Wednesday, which looked at this year’s results.
Overall, this year’s count indicated a 2% increase in individuals experiencing homelessness. And while the numbers did rise, the city said the size of the increase “represents a slowing of the growth of homelessness in the city over the last two years.”
In total, 2,223 people were identified as experiencing homelessness. Of these, 72% (1,609), were sheltered and 28% (614) were unsheltered.
As well, 27% reported being homeless for less than six months showing and 81% of survey respondents were already living in Vancouver when they became homeless.
The survey also found that 39% of those surveyed identified as Indigenous, and “Indigenous people continue to be vastly overrepresented in the homelessness count in Vancouver compared to the overall population,” the city said.
“While this year’s Homeless Count results show that the bold actions being taken by the city and its partners might be beginning to turn the tide on the growth of homelessness in Vancouver, there are still more than 2,000 people without a home in our city,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “This is unacceptable.”
Stewart said the city has seen the provincial government “come to the table with unprecedented investments, but the federal government’s pledge to cut homelessness in half hasn’t yet come with money on the ground and that’s the real missing piece.”
Despite the overall rise in homelessness, the city is encouraged by the fact the rate of growth for homelessness has slowed.
In a release, the city said it is “optimistic that we can continue to improve our ability to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness to make homelessness rare, brief, and one time.”
As part of Homelessness Action Week, which takes place every October to raise public awareness of homelessness and rally local solutions, council also approved 14 Homelessness Services grants.
Details on these grants can be found here.