The City of Vancouver announced it has launched its annual homeless count across the city.
Conducted by city staff, volunteers, and social services agencies, the city said the purpose of the count is to collect “critical” information on the numbers and characteristics of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver.
Staff will present the results of this year’s count to city council in May, and the results will impact policies and projects developed by the city to address homelessness.
“People experiencing homelessness continue to be the hardest hit by the housing crisis,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “We’re grateful to the hundreds of volunteers working on routes across Vancouver today and last night to collect information which will inform how we can work to reduce the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in our city.”
Last year, the annual count found over 2,100 people in Vancouver are without a home. It also found that homelessness was at its highest level since the first count in 2002 – up 2% from 2017 and 16% from 2016.
It also found that Indigenous people “continued to be vastly overrepresented,” making up 40% of Vancouver’s homeless population in 2018 but only 2.2% of Vancouver’s overall population.
Additionally, 52% of those counted last year reported that they had been homeless for less than 12 months.
Homeless counts have been conducted in the Metro Vancouver region every three years since they began.
In 2010, the City of Vancouver began its own annual counts in shelters and on the streets. This year, the city is conducting the count in collaboration with Indigenous partners.