As the following report by Urban Matters documents, the City of Vancouver’s 2018 point-in-time homeless count found 2,181 people homeless in Vancouver on March 14, 2018, with 1,522 people sheltered and 659 on the street. While the total number represents only a 2% increase from last year, it is nonetheless the highest number since the first regional homeless count in 2005, signaling a continuing and growing concern about the welfare of Vancouver residents who are marginalized and about how we respond to homelessness in our city.
The report highlights that people who identify as Indigenous continue to be vastly overrepresented in homelessness in Vancouver. In 2018, the City’s collaboration with Lu’ma Native Housing Society and the Aboriginal Homelessness Steering Committee on a coordinated count provided opportunities to explore new methods of engagement and to learn from our partners. For a comprehensive analysis of Aboriginal/Indigenous homelessness, please refer to the report on Aboriginal Homelessness – 2018 Count in Metro Vancouver.
The count also shows that approximately one-half of respondents had been homeless for less than one year. This statistic points to the fluidity of homelessness. The fact that someone becomes homeless does not necessarily mean they will continue to be. The support people find to access social and supportive housing is vital to ensure that pathways out of homelessness are available to all.