Homelessness at its worst: Vancouver sees highest number in 2019 count

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      Homeless people in Vancouver have increased by more than half since they were first tallied 14 years ago.

      According to the March 12-13, 2019 count, there are 2,223 homeless people in the city.

      It’s the highest number since the 2005 count, which tallied 1,364 homeless people.

      Compared to 2005, this year's number is a 63 percent increase.

      The 2019 count was presented to council Wednesday (June 12) by Celine Mauboules, director of homelessness services.

      “Homelessness is at its highest level in Vancouver since the count began,” Mauboules told council.

      However, Mauboules noted that the city is seeing a “slower growth” in the numbers.

      The 2019 tally of 2,223 is two percent higher than the 2018 count of 2,181 homeless people.

      According to Mauboules, this is consistent with the increase in 2018 over the 2017 count.

      “It shows that the actions of the city and senior levels of government are making an impact,” Mauboules said.

      According to the presentation, a majority or 81 percent indicated that they were already living in Vancouver before they became homeless.

      As for the length of time, 40 percent said that they have been homeless for one year to five years, while 27 percent reported without having a permanent home for up to six months.

      A total of 63 percent said that they were either on income or disability assistance.

      In a separate presentation, Claire Marshall of the Lu’ma Native Housing Society said that Indigenous people are overrepresented in the homeless population.

      While Indigenous people comprise two percent of the total population in the Vancouver, 39 percent of homeless people tallied in the 2019 were Indigenous.

      Marshall also reported that among homeless women, 53 percent were Indigenous women. Among homeless men, 35 percent were Indigenous men.