Vancouver braces for rising homeless count

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost , PNG

Less than a week before the newest homelessness count for Metro Vancouver comes out, the city of Vancouver says it is bracing for a dramatic increase in people on the street.

In what was termed an “urgent update” to council, city manager Penny Ballem on Wednesday said a worst-case scenario could see the city experience a 25-per-cent increase in homelessness.

She laid the blame for a confluence of factors, including delays by B.C. Housing in getting new supportive housing finished, the ill-timed closure of temporary shelter housing and an unexpected rise in the number of privately owned single-room occupancy units going vacant as owners raise rents above provincial shelter rates. All totalled, the city is short more than 700 units this year, she said.

Jeff Lee Reports

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