On Wednesday March 26, scores of volunteers (including some from Coast) will be attempting to document the level of homelessness in the Metro Vancouver region. This will be the fourth such count which is held every 3 years since 2002. Of course a snapshot is just that, it can and does miss many people who are homeless, but just not identified, though the methodology has improved significantly since 2002. With the advent of Homeless Outreach teams and many services to support homeless individuals, it’s hoped that the number missed in the count will be lessened.
When the results come out in the next few weeks, I don’t think we will see reductions in homelessness since the last count in 2008, but we may begin to notice changes in the housing situation. Hopefully there are fewer folks who are absolutely homeless and more engaged in transitional support – whether through a shelter or other forms of temporary housing. This is the first year that significant new long term housing is opening up in the region. In Vancouver almost all of the first “six” of “14″ supported housing sites will open offering quality homes with support to over 500 individuals. In May alone, two buildings open providing homes to 204 people including Coast’s Pacific Coast Apartments on Pender. Once the 14 in Vancouver and the many more across the lower mainland open in the next three or four years, we should see a significant change in the Homelessness count.