New task force tackles homelessness in Metro Vancouver region

Metro Vancouver regional homelessness task force recommendations to provincial government in spring.

A new Metro Vancouver regional task force will sift through numbers and pool data from across the region to develop solutions to the wave of homelessness washing across southwest B.C.

“We need to understand the numbers,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, who with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is co-chairing the task force.

“Getting those numbers is important because we need to know the size of the problem we’re dealing with.”

Metro Vancouver announced the regional homelessness task force today, saying that once solutions or recommendations are in place, they’ll be passed on to the provincial government this spring.

The task force will include six mayors and seven administrators from the area.

Read said the task force will meet next week as the situation is urgent and that there’s a “dire need for a regional approach.”

She said that, in Maple Ridge, homelessness is getting worse, as is happening across the region.

“We keep opening facilities in Metro Vancouver and the numbers keep increasing. “Where are these solutions working and what are we really dealing with?”

In Maple Ridge, the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries’ 25-bed emergency shelter is full, as is the 40-bed temporary homeless shelter that opened a year ago to allow the dispersal of the Cliff Avenue tent camp.

“We’ve got two shelters that are completely full. We’ve housed over 150 people, and we’re turning away somewhere between six and 10 people a night [in Maple Ridge],” Read said.

“Many cities are experiencing this increase in numbers. We need to look at these numbers seriously … because we can’t keep seeing these increases.”

Looking at it from a regional perspective is important, she added.

Read said that the most recent count of 84 homeless people in Maple Ridge was probably low because bylaw officers weren’t involved and there were more derelict buildings at that time that provided shelter of some sort.

Pooling resources across Metro Vancouver should help and there should be a regional solution.

“We need to get clear, what do we need in Metro Vancouver around housing … to address the numbers that we’re seeing on our street.”

She added that measures must be found to help people before they become homeless.

“We need to be preventing further generations of homeless from hitting our streets.”

In 2014, the Greater Vancouver regional steering committee on homelessness drew up a draft regional homelessness plan with the goal of ending homelessness within a decade.

According to that plan, there were 2,777 homeless people, based on the 2014 Homeless Count. One its goals was to build more than 6,000 housing units.

That 2014 homelessness plan follows the” 3 Ways to Home” plan for homeless, addressing the same issue in 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Proudly Surrey modifies child-care policy

Slate wants to use school board property for child-care spaces

Surrey school board wants to expand French Immersion program

District had to close program at Cougar Creek Elementary due to low enrolment

VIDEO: Scarecrow festival kicks off in Port Kells

Fourth-annual event will be on until Halloween

Delta to craft whistle-blower policy

The policy is meant to increase public trust and create support for staff in questionable situations

VIDEO: North Delta Studio Stomp back for sixth year

The annual art event has local artists opening their studios to the public this weekend

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read