More than 100 homeless people in Vancouver are military veterans: report

Nov 30 2019, 12:34 pm

More than 100 military veterans are homeless in Vancouver, new numbers from the city’s 2019 Homeless Count suggest.

Homelessness among veterans is a nationwide problem, according to Veterans Affairs Canada, and Vancouver appears to be no exception. Nationally, 4.4% of all homeless people are thought to be veterans, according to data from the 2018 Everyone Counts report.

On March 12 and 13, 2019, City of Vancouver volunteers visited shelters and city streets to ask homeless people a series of questions for the annual survey. One question is whether they have previous military experience, including serving in RCMP.

In 2019, 108 people reported serving either in the Canadian Forces or in militaries abroad.

Homeless veterans

2019 Homeless Count / City of Vancouver

The number of homeless veterans in the city could be higher, since volunteers can’t find all homeless people in the city and not all of them choose to participate.

The 2019 count gathered responses from 1,226 homeless people in the city, meaning nearly 9% of those surveyed identify as military veterans.

The count has identified even more homeless veterans in previous years, although the number of total respondents each year also fluctuates.

Year Number of homeless veterans Percentage of total Homeless Count respondents 
2018 111 8.2%
2017 168 7.6%
2016 127 11.3%
2015 95 8.8%
2014 118 6.6%

City staff released initial results from the homeless count in June, but more detailed numbers contained in the final report were posted to the city’s website more recently.

Veteran’s Affairs Canada says on its website that it partners with community organizations to reach out and support homeless veterans, and that “one homeless veteran is one too many.”