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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey councillor says McCallum, city sent letter to Uber to cease operations

Ridesharing company told to cease operations by 9 p.m. Friday within Surrey

Plans for apartments on Strawberry Hill shopping site coming to Surrey council

It would be near the library, and include 123 rental units

Man killed in fall from Civic Hotel balcony in Surrey

Heavy emergency services presence in plaza at the skyscraper, at 13475 Central Ave.

Ride-hailing arrives in North Delta

Uber’s picking up passengers in North Delta, Ladner, but Tsawwassen is still waiting for the service

VIDEO: Report of gun draws big RCMP response to Langley mall

At least one man was taken into custody and replica handgun was located

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read