Tag-Archive for ◊ shelters ◊

The B.C. government and the City of Vancouver are opening additional winter emergency shelter spaces and adding more long-term housing supports for people who are homeless.

Two temporary winter shelters, operated by Rain City Housing, will offer 75 additional spaces for the homeless between early December and April 30, 2014. The Province will provide funding to operate the shelters and outreach services; the City of Vancouver will provide the buildings at 862 Richards St. & 21 E. 5th Avenue and lead community awareness for the sites.

“Our winter response shelters are a proven program to help our most vulnerable citizen’s transition into stable, permanent housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By providing two daily meals, a warm place to sleep and connecting residents with outreach workers, these shelters have a positive impact in changing people’s lives. Our partnership with the Province continues to deliver results as we work towards ensuring no one has to be homeless in Vancouver.”

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Preliminary numbers from the City of Vancouver’s homeless count show that the number of people sleeping outside at night is declining.

This year’s count, which took place over a 24 hour period on March 13, 2013 found 273 people sleeping outside in Vancouver, which is:

  • a decrease of 11% from 2012, which saw 306 street homeless; and
  • a 66% decrease since 2008, which saw 811 street homeless, and was the first year of low-barrier shelters.

“The drop in people sleeping outside in Vancouver shows that we’re on the right path when it comes to ending street homelessness by 2015,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Our efforts are working, but there is no question there is more work to do. This is within our grasp.

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New statistics from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association show clear reductions in cases of open drug use, panhandling, trespassing, and street homelessness in the downtown neighbourhoods surrounding two Emergency Winter Response homeless shelters that opened in early December.

Data collected by the DVBIA’s Downtown Ambassadors program shows that in December 2012, compared to November 2012, downtown-area open drug use dropped by 88% (from 33 to 4 recorded incidents); panhandling was reduced by 34% (from 467 to 309); trespassing cases dropped by 21% (207 to 163); and there were 49% fewer people observed sleeping on the street in the downtown core (276 to 163).

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Vancouver’s four emergency winter shelters remain at full capacity, and have had to consistently turn people away due to lack of available space – a reminder of the urgent need for more investment in affordable housing, says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

New numbers from the Extreme Weather Response Program show that since the Province and City of Vancouver opened four temporary winter shelters at the beginning of December, an average of 24 homeless individuals each night have been turned away from these facilities due to a lack of available space.  Each shelter provides space for 40 people, for a total of 160 shelter beds.

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Photo credit: BC Housing

We’re continuing our successful partnership with the Provincial Government this winter, with the recent announcement that Minister Coleman will be investing $1 million into opening two new emergency homeless shelters.

The shelters will open on Howe Street under the Granville Street Bridge and across from Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in Mt Pleasant. As part of the partnership, the City will contribute up to $500,000 in building-related costs.

Over the past three years, our partnership with the Province has made a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable, helping hundreds of people access a warm place to sleep at night, transition into housing, and get the support they need. The number of people sleeping on the street has decreased by over 650. And with several hundred units of new social housing opening in the coming years, we’re poised to make substantial progress on our goal of ending street homelessness in Vancouver by 2015.

HomelessCountMayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver Housing Advocate Judy Graves were among the approximately 800 volunteers conducting the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count in the early morning hours of March 16th.

The Mayor tweeted, “Cold, wet night to be sleeping on the street,” while conducting his route along Burrard and Hornby streets. He reported that he didn’t encounter anyone on his route and noted that many of the volunteers are noticing there are less people living on the streets and more sleeping in shelters instead.

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