The number of emergency shelter spaces grew significantly across the eastern Fraser Valley in the past three years but not enough to house everyone.
Results of the FVRD 2020 Homeless Count show that shelters spaces increased in Chilliwack, Mission and Hope.
But the shelter bed numbers actually decreased in Abbotsford, going from 230 spaces down to 166 over three years, but that dip relates specifically to a reduction in extreme weather beds, according to the survey results.
Chilliwack is the closest to housing all the unhoused with 203 emergency shelters beds, compared to the total number of homeless people which was pegged at 306.Chilliwack also built two modular supportive housing facilities in the past year, totalling 96 units, which made a big difference.
Abbotsford recorded 333 homeless in the 2020 count, with only 166 emergency shelter beds.
Mission’s number experiencing homelessness is 178, with 87 shelter spaces, while Hope saw 69 people homeless with 36 shelter spaces, according to the count.
Since the adoption of Chilliwack’s Homelessness Action Plan in 2016, the City of Chilliwack has made it a priority to get people off the street and into accommodations, said Mayor Ken Popove.
“Through partnerships, Chilliwack was able to increase the supply of affordable housing, with an additional 109 affordable housing units developed since 2019 that will help prevent people from entering homelessness,” Popove said.
City officials worked with stakeholders and service providers to increase available shelter beds, to make space for some of the community’s most vulnerable.
“In the 2020 FVRD Homelessness Count, you can see that the majority of homeless individuals in Chilliwack are residing in shelter space, with a much smaller number of people living rough on the street,” he said. “I am proud that we have worked hard as a community to help give people a hand up through appropriate accommodations with wrap around supports and know we will continue to work in partnerships to help those that need it most.”
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