OUR VIEW: Data on Surrey’s homeless is vital

Government should be collecting data on shelter turnaways so we know where the need is greatest

The provincial New Democrat opposition this week made some alarming claims concerning the plight of the homeless here in Surrey.

They say there were 8,558 shelter “turnaways” in Surrey between November 2013 and November 2014, according to the most recent data available.

NDP housing critic David Eby discovered, through a Freedom of Information request, that B.C. Housing in November 2014 stopped tracking the number of homeless people being turned away from shelters. Why?

Eby suggests it is easier to pretend homelessness doesn’t exist when data isn’t being collected.

Whether or not the provincial Liberal government is indeed turning a blind eye to the problem, as Eby suggests, it’s hard not to agree that the government should be collecting data on shelter turnaways so it and other organizations will know where the need is greatest and hopefully try to fix the situation.

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