There were 114 homeless people counted in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as part of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count in March. (The News/files)

There were 114 homeless people counted in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as part of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count in March. (The News/files)

More than 100 homeless counted in March snapshot across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Metro Vancouver Homeless Count has been taking place since 2002

A point-in-time count conducted in March discovered more than 100 people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows identified as homeless.

That is the finding of the 2020 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count.

In Ridge Meadows, volunteers who fanned out across both cities, counted a total of 114 homeless – 35 unsheltered and an additional 79 sheltered.

Of those that were sheltered: 12 were counted in an extreme weather response shelter; 60 in a temporary night shelter, winter response shelter, safe house or transition house, and seven were of no fixed address and counted in a jail, detox facility or hospital.

In 2017, the year of the last homeless count, 124 homeless people were counted, a figure that had been trending upwards since 2005 when only 44 people were counted.

In general the count showed that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver has changed little since 2017.

However, the report advised that the count took place two weeks before the provincial government declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 and so the final report may not adequately reflect regional homelessness.

READ MORE: Homelessness increases in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

Data was collected starting the evening of Mar. 3 for a 24 hour period into Mar. 4, to give a snapshot of homeless in the region.

This was the first homeless count where individuals were asked whether they identified with any racial group or groups.

Results found that Black people were over-represented among identified racialized groups experiencing homelessness.

The report stated that Black people were 3.7 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to what their presence in the general population would predict.

Also, Latin American and Arab respondents were also over-represented, with Latin Americans being 1.7 times and Arabs 1.3 times more likely to experience homelessness.

Health issues were also factor with 87 per cent of individuals counted citing at least one health condition including a physical disability, illness, addiction, mental health issue or cognitive impairment. Of those, 60 per cent reported an addiction that included substance abuse, alcohol, cigarettes or gambling.

READ MORE: Homeless counted in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Findings also showed that more seniors, those 55 and older, were experiencing homelessness compared to youth, those 24 and younger, than in 2017. Seniors represented 24 per cent of the homeless population overall this year, up from 22 per cent three years ago.

“I think that homeless counts are effective as long as you keep in mind that there is a lot of hidden homeless within communities that are not counted,” said Mark Stewart, executive director of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

Counts need to be done, he said, because it gives organizations ideas how to build infrastructure for people who are vulnerable.

“I think that we’re making headway,” he said of the lower Ridge Meadows count.

Community organizations that the Salvation Army works with in Maple Ridge are working together, more than they have ever been before, explained Stewart.

“And, we’re moving people from emergency shelter to transitional shelter, into private market housing, into detox centres and we’re just really working together to make sure we’re just a doorway so people can come in and find the way back to where they should be – which is their own home,” he added.

Homelessness fluctuates in communities depending on personal situations, continued Stewart.

“It’s a point-in-time count.”

“It shows you what’s happening in your community on that day and how you can improve on your services to make peoples’ lives better,” he said.

A point-in-time homeless count has been conducted in Metro Vancouver since 2002.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Homelessmaple ridgePitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Art Infiniti Hotel caught fire on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31, 2020) in Maple Ridge. Seven people were evacuated safely. (Barry Brinkman/Special to The News)
LETTER: Headline about Maple Ridge fire victim insensitive

Senior lost everything in Dec. 31 fire and letter writer felt denture reference inappropriate

Maple Ridge released its winter program guide recently. (Special to The News)
City unveils numerous winter programs and activities

Maple Ridge unveils guide that takes into consideration COVID-19

Corina Ardelean, right, and a volunteer wait for clients at Christian Life Assembly in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
Romanian refugees fulfill mission in Maple Ridge

Helping struggling families put food on the table

Maple Ridge’s Bruce Coughlan. (Special to The News)
Robbie Burns day to be feted virtually by Maple Ridge musician

Bruce Coughlan will hold virtual concert in Campbell River theatre in honour of Scottish bard

Naturally Splendid employees working at a flow wrapper station at its facility in Pitt Meadows (Special to The News)
Plant-based Pitt Meadows business pivots during pandemic

Naturally Splendid partners with Australian company on bringing meat substitute to Canada

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Most Read