Homelessness in Tri-Cities

29 06 2009

by: Arita Liu

In our research into homelessness in Tri-Cities, several characteristics of the homelessness in this area came to our notice.

First, Tri-Cities have the fastest increase of homeless population from 2005 to 2008 in Metro Vancouver.

According to the 2008 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count, there are 94 homeless persons in Tri-Cities, making up 4% of the entire homeless population in Metro Vancouver. From 2005 to 2008, however, Tri-Cities have the biggest homeless increase rate of 140%. Outreach workers in this area even found that the real number of homeless people is four to five times higher than the count. In the big picture, Tri-Cities have relatively smaller homeless population, yet with the fast increase of homelessness in this area, there has to be something done to stop the homeless epidemic.

increase


Second, Tri-Cities homeless longevity is relatively short with a highest percentage of people being homeless less than six months.

The 2008 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count reveals that 48% of people who provided information had been homeless for a year or more. Among those street/service homeless people, 56% had been homeless for a year or more. Debate has been focused on the long-term mentally ill and substance abusers, but the new homeless represent different phenomena and require different approaches to a solution.

homeless longevity

Third, There is no permanent shelter in this area whereas Ridge Meadow area has 19 shelter beds where there is a smaller homeless population.

“Three Ways to Home”, the Regional Homelessness Plan for Greater Vancouver Area developed by The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee, maps out the three key elements to end homelessness — affordable housing, support services, and adequate income. Factors such as lack of affordable housing, poverty and low income require permanent emergency shelter capacity throughout the region as a link between homelessness and permanent housing. What makes the situation more frustrating is, last week, Coquitlam city Mayor Richard Stewart and councillors were informed that the permanent shelter planned for 3030 Gordon Ave. and a 30-unit apartment block at 528 Como Lake Ave. for women and children are on hold because there is no provincial fund available for the project.

permanent shelter by regioni

Tri-Cities homeless group is small yet the situation is complicated. It is more likely to develop an experimental intervention model in this area, which is scalable and cost effective and can be applied to a larger area.

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