Background Information October 2005:
- Between 2001 and 2004, the number of shelterless in the
city on any one night increased from 300-600 people, depending
on the season, to 500-1,200 people.
- Some of the characteristics of shelterless people are:
- At least two-third are addicted to drugs/and or alcohol,
and have mental illnesses.
- About one-quarter could not find housing because they
have no income.
- At least one-quarter were aboriginal, compared to two
percent of thecity population.
- The March 2005 regional homeless count showed a doubling
of the number of street homeless and those staying in shelter
in the Greater Vancouver region –from about 1,000
homeless in 2002 to about 2,100.
- In 2003, there were 7,000 turnaways from the Triage Shelter,
an increase of over 300% from 2000. There were almost 5,000
turnaways in the two Lookout shelters in 2002/03.
- The number of shelter beds in winter has increased from
550 beds in 2000 to 850 beds in 2005.
- In 2001, there were 40,000 people in the city living in
20,500 households in thecity that were at risk of homelessness
(are in ‘core need’ and spend more than 50%
of their gross income on shelter).
- In 2001, about 15% of the street homeless identified by
City staff were not on welfare. In 2004, more than 75% of
the street homeless reported they are not on welfare.
- Welfare rates for singles have not been raised since 1991.
The amount paid for shelter is $325 per month and for support
- The proportion of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units rented
for $325 a month or less declined from 63% in 1994 to 19%
- Between 1994 - 2004, in Vancouver, the average rent for
a studio increased 33% (from $521 to $695) and the average
rent for a one bedroom apartment increased 28% (from $645
- A 2001 study by the Province indicated that the public
costs for providing services and shelter for one homeless
person are up to $40,000 annually compared with up to $28,000
for someone who has housing.
- The cost of a bed at St. Paul’s psychiatric ward
is $500 per day and the cost of a bed in a Provincial correctional
institution is $155 - $200 per day. The cost of supportive
housing is from $20 - $38 per day, depending on the kind
- The cost of providing care to people with addictions and
mental illnesses through one-on-one support by a team of
health and other workers is $44 /day.
The Vancouver City Council adopted a Homeless Action Plan
in June 2005. It concludes that tackling homelessness is something
that can only be done successfully if all sectors of the community
are involved – all levels of government, business, nonprofit
services and residents.
The Plan identifies three key priorities:
- Reduce barriers to accessing welfare and create jobs
for the homeless
- Develop 3,200 units of supportive housing
- Increase addiction and mental health services
Copies of the complete Homeless Action Plan can be downloaded
from the Housing
Centre website at: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/housing/pdf/HAP(June2005).pdf