The Pivot Legal Society is demanding the City of Vancouver put a moratorium on tickets given to people sleeping outside after new statistics that show shelters are regularly turning people away.
David Eby, a lawyer with Pivot, said that in nine months, homeless people were refused access to Metro Vancouver shelters more than 40,000 times.
More than 17,000 of those incidents involved women and families.
The statistics were collected by 36 shelters and compiled by B.C. Housing.
“We have bylaw officers, police officers and security guards cracking down on people who sleep outside,” he said.
“When shelters are full (people) should be able to sleep outside and not be ticketed or harassed by bylaw officers.”
He said that most shelter users are chronic users and if they can get housing it would free up a lot of resources.
“We’re calling for a moratorium on police and bylaw officers ticketing people who sleep outside until we figure out whether our shelter system has been overwhelmed by demand.”