More than 30 members of the public, politicians and partner agencies attended a rainy day Homelessness Awareness Walk in Newton last Friday.
The annual event was hosted by the White Rock-based Sources Community Resource Centres agency.
“We knew we would have a smaller turnout this year because of the weather,” Sources CEO David Young said, “but in a way, this just underscores the importance of this event. The homeless wake up in these conditions under tarps and in doorways. We really want to drive the message home that everyone needs a home.”
The message was prominently displayed on lawn signs that placed along the route of the Oct. 12 walk.
The morning event featured speeches from Susan Keeping, co-ordinator of the Homelessness and Housing task force in Surrey, MLAs Harry Bains and Jagrup Brar and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Sources Newton Resource Centre at Unit 205, 13588 88 Ave.
Statistics provided by Sources estimate each homeless person costs government services an average of $40,000 a year, far more than the $22,000-$28,000 they would cost if they had adequate housing.
A 2011 homeless count in Metro Vancouver found 2,650 homeless people. Among them, 32 were children 12 or younger. More than 200 were 55 or older. One in three were women.
The survey found fewer people living outdoors while more homeless were living in emergency shelters and similar facilities.
The non-profit Sources Community Resource Centres serves the communities of White Rock, Surrey, Langley and Delta.