Without immediate action, the numbers of homeless across the region are expected to skyrocket. Final results of the
2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver found that 3605 people are currently homeless in the region – up 30 per cent from the previous count in 2014 – making 2017 the 16th consecutive year that homelessness has increased.
The numbers are indicative of people struggling with poverty, underlying health conditions for whom there are significant gaps in services, the lack of sufficient social safety nets for Metro Vancouver's most vulnerable, including the working poor, seniors on a fixed income, First Nations, foster youth aging out of care and people with chronic health issues, mental illness and addictions, and the lack of supply of housing that is affordable to those with low and very low incomes. The status quo and the economic cost of inaction is unacceptable.
Simply responding to demands of a homeless person costs taxpayers on average $55,000 in local and regional resources – compared with $37,000 to house them. This equates to about $7 billion annually in Canada, or $200 million for the Metro Vancouver region.
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