2011 Homeless Count Results are in

The 2011 Homeless Count was released this week.  Highlights of the report include: 

The 2011 Homeless Count was released this week.  Highlights of the report include: 

  • The total homeless population was virtually unchanged. 2,650 people were found in 2011 as compared to 2,660 counted in 2008. This change is statistically insignificant.
  • Unsheltered homelessness decreased dramatically. In 2008, there were 1,574 people without shelter compared to 758 in 2011, a 52% reduction. This suggests that the increase in shelter beds across the region and continued efforts by outreach workers are paying off.
  • Sheltered homelessness increased significantly. There was a 74% increase in the number of people in emergency shelters and similar facilities — from 1,086 in 2008 to 1,892 in 2011. This increase would not have been possible without the added bed capacity.
  • People stayed in emergency shelters for shorter periods of time. Overall, 77% of those surveyed in shelters reported that they stayed in shelters for less than 3 months during the previous 12 months. This is indicative of better shelter flow-through and efficiencies.
  • Aboriginal people remained over-represented in the homeless population. Aboriginal people comprise about 2% of the general population of Metro Vancouver but they remain overrepresented at 27% of homeless people enumerated.
  • Youth homelessness increased. A total of 397 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 were found. This was the highest number of unaccompanied homeless youth ever found in the region – a 9% increase from 2008 and a 34% change from 2005.
  • The female share of the homeless population increased. The proportion of females in the homeless population has been rising since 2005. In 2005, one of four homeless person (26%) was female but by 2011 nearly one in three (30%) was female.
  • The number of homeless families counted increased. Fifty-six homeless families with 54 children were found. This was the highest number of families ever recorded in a Count. The majority of the children, 32 of the 54, were 12 years or younger. The majority of the homeless families (55%) reported being homeless due to family breakdown, abuse or conflict.
  • More seniors remained homeless longer. Although their ranks did not increase from 2008, more than 200 people aged 55 years and older were found. Nearly 48% of the seniors were considered long term homeless – people who had been without a home for at least one year.
  • Large segments of this population also faced health issues. Health conditions for people who are homeless have worsened. Incidence of multiple health challenges among the homeless increased significantly. Nearly two out of three homeless people surveyed (62%) reported multiple health conditions, including one in three (31%) that reported three or four health challenges.
  • The unsheltered homeless population had difficulties accessing food. Nearly 70% of the unsheltered homeless population had not had a good meal for two or more days when they were encountered on Count Day. On the other hand, 75% of the sheltered reported eating a good meal within 24 hours of the Count.

For the complete report, please click here.