The homeless count is in for the Fraser Valley Regional District and it has some bad news for some specific communities.
Homeless count research co-ordinator Ron Van Wyk says regionally the numbers remain more or less the same but “There have been some changes in specific communities. In Abbotsford it has gone up from 117 to 151. In Mission it went up from 54 to 75. In Chilliwack it dropped down from 111 to 73.”
Van Wyk says they interview the homeless as they count to determine where they come from.
“26% of the people we interviewed indicated they do originate so to speak from Metro Vancouver. But the biggest proportion of the people we interviewed 32% are from FVRD communities. Also 20% are coming from out of province.”
Van Wyk says across the region there are roughly 346 homeless in the latest count, an increase of one.
“The numbers are staying fairly stable so what I think is happening is the facilities that have become available in Abbotsford, Mission, and Chilliwack over the last six or so years and the work that has been done by agencies on the ground, very creatively, is certainly helping that the numbers do not grow substantially.”
But Van Wyk adds more also needs to be done to tackle the problem as the numbers are not decreasing either.