The Ministry of Housing is calling for more supports and services to address homelessness following their 2023 count.
They gathered information from 20 communities across the province “through volunteer surveyors over a 24-hour period” which showed increases in homeless populations across the board from the last count, conducted in 2020-21.
“The results of these counts reinforce our belief that more needs to be done to help the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing.
“Because of global inflation cities across North America are seeing an increase in vulnerable populations. Through our new Belonging in BC homelessness plan, we’re creating the kinds of safe, secure homes and supports that are necessary to break the cycle of homelessness. While the plan was only introduced this past spring, we’ve started to implement it immediately in order to build a stronger B.C. for everyone by helping those struggling to stabilize their lives.”
Prince George was not included in the provincial count – larger communities in the province will be tallied by the federal government later in the year and the results will be added to the findings.
Other northern communities – Smithers, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Willliams Lake were all included in the count – each town saw an increase in homelessness from 2020-21.
Individual findings from each of these locations can be found here.
BC is the only province to fund its own point-in-time counts to coincide with the federal tally for a full provincial picture of homelessness.
The Ministry of Housing said the results will guide “development of supports and services implemented through Belonging in BC, the Province’s plan to prevent and reduce homelessness.”