Homelessness Action Week events shine spotlight on Vancouver’s most vulnerable population

October 13, 2015 | Homelessness

Mayor Gregor Robertson presented the official proclamation of Homelessness Action Week in Vancouver today to organizations that provide housing, emergency shelters and support services to youth who are homeless in Vancouver.

“Homelessness Action Week is an important time for raising awareness about what we can all do to help vulnerable residents of Vancouver. Although we have helped hundreds of people transition into permanent homes from the street or shelters since 2009, there is still much more work to do,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Today we have an opportunity to recognize the great work done by service providers throughout the city, who are committed to helping our most vulnerable youth day in and day out. Their work is changing lives and too often it goes unnoticed.”

The City is committed to ending street homelessness in Vancouver and has dedicated $85 million from the Capital Plan to enable the creation of 2,550 new supportive and social housing units. Investments in recent years include the opening of the Quality Inn, the Hastings Ramada, and Taylor Manor, all providing interim or permanent supportive housing.

Homelessness Action Week events will take place throughout the lower mainland to shine a spotlight on homelessness and provide support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Highlights include:

  • Vancouver Homeless Connect events where attendees can access services ranging from health care options to employment support, hosted by the City of Vancouver
  • Triple A Transit - Affordable, Available and Accessible: Forum on homeless access to public transit, learning from Calgary & Seattle
  • The Hello Neighbour Project: Community-led Downtown Eastside tours
  • Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotel Tenant Convention
  • For a Muse of Fire: Community-engaged theatre
  • Frog Hollow Hunger Banquet & Community Dialogue
  • Forum on Housing & Homelessness among Refugee Claimants

In July 2015, Vancouver City Council approved $43,000 in grants to 18 non-profits to produce events and projects related to Homelessness Action Week. An additional $9,000 was given to City of Vancouver Homeless Connect events.

As the winter season nears, the City is working to ensure people who are homeless are able to come inside during the coldest, wettest months of the year. The City and the Province are working together to identify temporary winter shelter sites and other housing options. This partnership is in its eighth year and supports the City’s goal to end street homelessness. Last year the strategy included additional shelter beds, temporary housing options and rent supplements.

Homelessness Action Week runs from October 11 to 17, 2015 to raise public awareness on the issues of homelessness. The week is organized by the Council of Community Homelessness Tables, which has representatives from municipalities across Metro Vancouver.

Homelessness Action Week 2014 resulted in:

  • 4,000 meals served
  • 2,000 care kits handed out
  • 2,100 people attended educational events
  • 160 community partnerships established

For more information visit: vancouver.ca/homelessness-action-week.