April 23, 2014 3:38 pm

Metro Vancouver’s homelessness numbers up five percent over three years

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

There are 120 more homeless people on the streets of Metro Vancouver than there were in 2011.

That is the result of the 2014 count that identified a total of 2,770 people in Metro Vancouver as homeless.

It is five percent more than 2,650 in the 2011 count.

1,813 of the 2,770 people identified as homeless this year were considered “sheltered homeless.” The remaining 957 people are considered “unsheltered homeless,” and were found living outside, couch surfing or using homelessness services on the day of the count.

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This year’s count identified 582 Aboriginal people who were homeless, compared to 394 in 2011.

A total of 410 youth, under the age of 25, were counted as homeless compared to 397 in 2011. That represents 20 per cent of the homeless population, and is down from 24 per cent in 2011.

A total of 371 seniors, 55 and older, were counted as homeless.  These seniors represented 18 percent of the homeless population, up from 16 percent in 2011.

Homeless women represented 25 per cent of the homeless population, down from 31 per cent three years ago.

“We counted 88 children under the age of 19, who were accompanied by their parents and were homeless. That is compared to 74 children in the same situation in 2011,” says Deb Bryant, the Chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee. “That is a troubling number. There is not much movement on that front.”

About 900 volunteers documented and interviewed homeless people in streets and shelters, as well as those with “no fixed address” in hospitals, jails and detox facilities, plus couch surfers and people who used homelessness services on the day of the count.

Earlier this month, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, who campaigned on the premise of ending street homelessness in the city by 2015, admitted his ambitious goal may no longer be possible.

Robertson blamed delays in housing projects with other levels of government for making it difficult to meet the goal.

Read the full report here.

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