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Chilliwack has the highest percentage of women experiencing homelessness in the region

Homelessness trending upward across the Fraser Valley, according to 2020 FVRD Homeless Count results
The 2020 FVRD Homeless Count results were released June 9, 2020, showing increases in all five communities including Chilliwack. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress file)

Chilliwack is one of five communities across the Fraser Valley to see a spike in the number of people experiencing homelessness in the past three years.

Findings released Tuesday in the 2020 FVRD Homeless Count show that numbers went from 221 people in Chilliwack who self-identified as homeless in 2017, to 306 people in 2020 – an increase of 38 per cent.

Chilliwack also had the highest proportion of women in the FVRD count, estimated at 40 per cent of the total.

READ MORE: Homeless count in 2020 got underway March 3-4

The goal of the count every three years is getting the most accurate statistical snapshot possible of those who do not have adequate housing or a fixed address, whether they’re staying in shelters, in camps, or on the streets. It is not an exhaustive count of every single person living rough, but rather it’s a count in a 24-hour window to help agencies assess what is going on.

Part of the goal is raising public awareness about the interrelated issues of homelessness, substance use and the lack of reasonably priced housing in order to support affordable housing and homelessness response initiatives.

The total count in the FVRD went from 606 people in 2017, to 895 in 2020, according to the report, with increases noted in all five communities: Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Hope and Boston Bar.

READ MORE: Homeless count in 2017 saw Chilliwack numbers triple

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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