Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read is co-chairing the new regional task force on homelessness with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

New task force tackles homelessness in Metro Vancouver region

Metro Vancouver regional homelessness task force recommendations to provincial government in spring.

A new Metro Vancouver regional task force will sift through numbers and pool data from across the region to develop solutions to the wave of homelessness washing across southwest B.C.

“We need to understand the numbers,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, who with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is co-chairing the task force.

“Getting those numbers is important because we need to know the size of the problem we’re dealing with.”

Metro Vancouver announced the regional homelessness task force today, saying that once solutions or recommendations are in place, they’ll be passed on to the provincial government this spring.

The task force will include six mayors and seven administrators from the area.

Read said the task force will meet next week as the situation is urgent and that there’s a “dire need for a regional approach.”

She said that, in Maple Ridge, homelessness is getting worse, as is happening across the region.

“We keep opening facilities in Metro Vancouver and the numbers keep increasing. “Where are these solutions working and what are we really dealing with?”

In Maple Ridge, the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries’ 25-bed emergency shelter is full, as is the 40-bed temporary homeless shelter that opened a year ago to allow the dispersal of the Cliff Avenue tent camp.

“We’ve got two shelters that are completely full. We’ve housed over 150 people, and we’re turning away somewhere between six and 10 people a night [in Maple Ridge],” Read said.

“Many cities are experiencing this increase in numbers. We need to look at these numbers seriously … because we can’t keep seeing these increases.”

Looking at it from a regional perspective is important, she added.

Read said that the most recent count of 84 homeless people in Maple Ridge was probably low because bylaw officers weren’t involved and there were more derelict buildings at that time that provided shelter of some sort.

Pooling resources across Metro Vancouver should help and there should be a regional solution.

“We need to get clear, what do we need in Metro Vancouver around housing … to address the numbers that we’re seeing on our street.”

She added that measures must be found to help people before they become homeless.

“We need to be preventing further generations of homeless from hitting our streets.”

In 2014, the Greater Vancouver regional steering committee on homelessness drew up a draft regional homelessness plan with the goal of ending homelessness within a decade.

According to that plan, there were 2,777 homeless people, based on the 2014 Homeless Count. One its goals was to build more than 6,000 housing units.

That 2014 homelessness plan follows the” 3 Ways to Home” plan for homeless, addressing the same issue in 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Charge laid in Abbotsford motorcycle crash that killed Maple Ridge woman

Megan Kinnee, 19, died in collision on July 13, 2018

Two-vehicle collision on Maple Ridge road

Pickup narrowly misses bus stop

Man stuck on trail in Golden Ears park

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue reach him at 1:30 a.m.

Big Chill a hot event in Langley

Flight Museum holds “ask the pilot panel” and demos flights for young pilots over the weekend

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read