Monday, November 30, 2020

Homelessness in Langley: a more complete picture. Final data from March 2020 homelessness count available.

In August, I posted about the preliminary data from the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver. The final data report has been released.

The preliminary numbers have not changed. The top three communities where people are experiencing homelessness are Vancouver (2,095), Surrey (644), and Langley (209), representing 80% of the people counted.

In Langley, there was a marked increase in people experiencing homelessness between 2014 and 2017. However, it appears that the number of people experiencing homelessness had stabilized when the count was completed in March.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 likely means an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness.

The final data report provides a more complete picture of people experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver and Langley.

Around 50% of people experiencing homeless in Langley are not in shelters. These people stayed outside, in vacant buildings, in vehicles, or were couch-surfing. In 2017, 79 people were unsheltered in Langley. There were 108 people unsheltered on March 4, 2020.

Due to systemic racism, Indigenous people are overrepresented in the population of people experiencing homelessness. In Langley, 24% of people who were counted in March were Indigenous.

Homelessness also knows no age. In Langley, the age of people experiencing homelessness is as shown in the interactive pie chart.

Youth is under 25 years of age. Adults are 25-54, and Seniors are 55 and older.

In Langley, the Gateway of Hope (The Salvation Army) and Ishtar Transition Housing Society provide shelter spaces. Langley includes both the City and Township.

Supportive housing is considered permanent housing.

Because the Homeless Count is a point-in-time count, the number of people experiencing homelessness is likely higher. For example, most people who are living with friends or couch-surfing will not be counted. Also, volunteers will not be able to cover every corner of a community or enter vacant buildings.

What this report does show are overall trends. In Langley, we still have more work to do as over 50% of people experiencing homelessness are not sheltered. I know that our shelter spaces are maxed out, as is supportive housing to transition people toward independent living. There is much work left to be done in Langley.

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