Different groups all agree number is on the rise
rafe arnott/metro vancouver
Organizers of the 2008 homeless count are looking for 400 volunteers to help gather a "snapshot" of the homeless picture in the Lower Mainland.
The count, conducted over a 24-hour period in March, aims to guide service providers and to inform policy makers about the state of homelessness in Metro Vancouver.
While different groups have tried to quantify the number of homeless in recent years, all agree that the number is on the rise.
Andrea Gillman, a housing policy analyst with Metro Vancouver’s homelessness secretariat, said it was too early to speculate on what the count might look like.
Previous counts showed that homelessness in Metro Vancouver more than doubled in three years, increasing to 2,174 in 2005, up from 1,121 in 2003.
In November, however, Civil City commissioner Geoff Plant estimated the number of street homeless in Vancouver alone at 2,000, an increase of 54 per cent over 2005.
In 2006, the Pivot Legal Society projected homelessness to reach just under 3,200 by 2010.
Robyn Newton, manager of research for Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., the organization that runs the count on behalf of Metro Vancouver, said the last count saw an increase in both sheltered and street homeless.
"In my view we don’t need more shelters," Newton said. "We need more transition housing so that less people need to be in the shelters. Certainly, we’re not meeting the need."