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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 is $185.
  • The proportion of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units rented for $325 a month or less declined from 63% in 1994 to 19% in 2005.
  • 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 to $823).
  • 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 of support.
  • 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:

  1. Reduce barriers to accessing welfare and create jobs for the homeless
  2. Develop 3,200 units of supportive housing
  3. 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

 

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