The City’s emergency homeless shelters have resulted in a significant drop in public disorder downtown, according to statistics compiled by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
“Our emergency homeless shelters don’t just help people on the street, they also provide benefits to the City as a whole,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Since the shelters opened in early December, we’ve seen significant drops in recorded incidents of trespassing and panhandling. It’s another indication that our efforts to reduce homelessness and help our most vulnerable are paying off.”
The statistics from the DVBIA show a number of positive trends due to the homeless shelters opening in December. These include:
- From September through November of 2010, there was a monthly average of 312 incidents of panhandling; in December, there were 129 – a 59% decrease;
- From September through November of 2010, there was a monthly average of 170 incidents of trespassing; in December, there were 20 – an 88% decrease.
Charles Gauthier, the Executive Director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, said the statistics reflect a positive trend developing in Downtown Vancouver. “The reductions in street disorder are directly related to the opening of new homeless shelters this winter,” said Mr Gauthier. “Our members have seen a significant change on our streets, ranging from less people sleeping outside, to a reduction in panhandling and trespassing, since the shelters opened. The shelters are working.”
In March of 2010, the City of Vancouver conducted a 24-hour Homeless Count. It found that since 2008, with the opening of new shelters, the number of street homeless decreased by 47%, from 811 to 428.