Homelessness – causes and effects: A Profile, Policy Review and Analysis of Homelessness in British Columbia

A snapshot of homelessness in British Columbia (BC) was undertaken in 1996 and 1997 by a research team which spoke with emergency shelters for the homeless in seven communities across BC. The seven communities include: Victoria, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Nelson, Prince George and Terrace. Although the document does not discuss homelessness in the context of rural or northern situations, several of these communities may be considered to be located in northern or rural areas. While most of the data described is a compilation of information from all communities, one distinction between communities is that Nelson, Kamloops and Nanaimo have higher proportions of renters paying more than 50% of their income in rent when compared with the other communities. In addition, the largest increases in people paying more than 50% of their income in rent were found in Kamloops and Nelson. Inadequate incomes, a lack of affordable housing and a lack of support services were issues across the province in connection to homelessness. Interestingly the report states that in-migration due to a strong economy may tap community resources of affordable housing such that a strong economy may result in increases in housing pressure and thus increases in homelessness (p. 98). This dynamic may be particularly relevant in small single-industry communities as are prevalent in the north, and thus is a potential perspective for future northern homelessness research.

Publication Date: 
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada