Homelessness continues to be an issue throughout the Fraser Valley and across the province.

Homeless numbers rising in Mission

All communities need more services, and the increases in Abbotsford and Mission indicate more work is needed.

The number of people living on the streets in Mission has increased by 39 per cent since 2011, according to the 2014 Homelessness Survey conducted for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“It’s hard to explain why the number has increased in Mission, but we see these variations from time to time,” explained Dr. Ron van Wyk, who presented the final findings to the regional district last month. Preliminary numbers were released last April. “The fact the numbers have not overall dramatically increased is a good sign.”

The total number of homeless counted in six communities where the survey was conducted was 346. Increases were also recorded in Abbotsford and Boston Bar, but decreases were noted in Chilliwack and Hope. Agassiz-Harrison numbers remained unchanged. The surveys are done every three years.

All communities need more services, and the increases in Abbotsford and Mission indicate more work is needed on efforts to provide supportive long-term housing to people with challenges, said van Wyk.

There are currently 20 beds at Haven in the Hollow and 44 beds at Rivendell in Mission for the homeless to access.

“One person homeless is too many,” said van Wyk. “We need to start with housing, then wrap services around it for folks.”

Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said the recently released survey is already out of date, and doesn’t put “a lot of stock” in the report.

“Things are in such a state of flux.

“About this time of year, new faces show up (in Mission). You will see people on the streets that you know are homeless. They show up in the spring, hang around for the summer, then disappear in the fall.”

Hawes believes there is a “serious addiction and mental health problem” in the Lower Mainland that needs to be addressed.

“The problem is getting worse, not better,” he said, noting Mission is working on initiatives to help, like Stone Soup, an outreach program to connect services to people who are homeless or suffering from addiction.

Fraser Health is also working with Mission and Abbotsford to establish an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team for the region to support and help treat vulnerable citizens with mental health and addiction issues.

“We need to identify who they are, what brought them to this (being homeless), and how we can help them.”

Last year, surveyors spoke with 75 homeless people during a 24-hour period in March. While the number has increased compared to three years ago, when it was 54, it is lower than the 100 recorded in 2008.

More than half of the people that were interviewed in 2014 were men (58 per cent) and between the ages of 30 to 49 (54 per cent). About 25 per cent of respondents were in their 20s, and about 17 per cent were over the age of 50.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

UPDATE: Wind warning ends for Metro Vancouver after thousands lose power

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

VIDEO: Mission City Indoor Farmers Market returns

Market kicks off 2018 schedule on Saturday

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

A new development surrounding plane that went missing around Revelstoke in November

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

Most Read