MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – If you think you’ve been seeing more homeless people and tent cities lately, you may be right.
The latest Metro Vancouver homeless count in underway and the tally is projected to reach about 4,000 people.
During the last count in 2014, the tally was 2,777.
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read says the projected increase includes a number of vulnerable young people.
“In Surrey, they recently had a young adult who had aged out of care who died in a tent. This is a really significant issue everywhere,” Read says.
“How many reports does the Representative for Children and Youth have to put out in this province for somebody to realize, a lot of these kids are really falling through the cracks and ending up on our streets. It’s totally unacceptable.”
Read says BC should have provincial governance on dealing with homelessness.
“We need to make sure that our kids are not entering pathways that lead to homelessness down the road and our most acute are our kids in care because we know that there’s a lot of emotional issues attached to our kids who are in care and we need to get in and we need to support them. These are our children”
Read says the issue of homelessness is not something reserved for downtown Vancouver or Surrey but also significantly affects the outer regions and the Fraser Valley.
The group behind the 2017 homeless count is calling for the province to add 3,000 new housing units over the next few years, and a BC strategy on homelessness.