Forward 2020: Better Solutions, Together

Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) Homeless Count

The FVRD is a local government consisting of six municipalities and eight electoral areas that delivers over 100 separate services to over 280,000 residents in the beautiful Fraser Valley. The communities include:
  • Abbotsford
  • Chilliwack
  • Harrison Hot Springs
  • Hope
  • Kent
  • Mission
There are 603 homeless individuals in the Fraser Valley, according to preliminary results from a survey released today to the Board of Directors of the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). This number is a significant increase from 2014, when the count revealed 346 homeless individuals throughout the region living in shelters, transition houses, service centres and outside.

The Homeless Count is conducted every three years and provides a moment-in-time snapshot of homelessness. On March 8, 2017 over a 24 hour period over 140 agency staff and volunteers fanned out across the region and conducted one-on-one interviews with people living on the streets and in by-ways. A similar count was conducted in Metro Vancouver during the same time period.

Preliminary findings of the 2017 count show increases in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope. In 2014, there were 151 homeless individuals in Abbotsford; 73 in Chilliwack; and 22 in Hope. Abbotsford has increased by 79%; Chilliwack has experienced an increase of 203% and Hope’s numbers have increased by 64%. However, results were not uniform across the region. The number of homeless individuals in Mission and Agassiz-Harrison dropped, while the number in Boston Bar increased marginally.

“Despite steps taken by municipalities in partnership with local service providers and the provincial and federal governments to provide more services and housing, communities still face significant challenges to arrest the increase in the number of people living homeless. Concerted efforts to continue this work, including prevention of homelessness, must continue” said Dr. Ron van Wyk, Executive Director, MCC Community Enterprises, who oversaw the count.

The 2017 homeless count confirms earlier anecdotal reports suggesting a significant increase in the number of homeless persons in the Fraser Valley. These numbers are above the previous high of 465 homeless individuals counted in 2008. The preliminary results of the Metro Vancouver count will be released in early April.
2017 FVRD Homless Count

Seven-person Citizen's Committee

The Liberal MLAs have named their seven-person citizen's committee that will decide on a location for a homeless shelter and supportive housing complex in Maple Ridge.

Members of the shelter advisory committee include:

  • Dr. Paul Beckett;
  • Christine Bickle, with Alouette Animal Hospital, which would have been next to the shelter had it been built at 21375 Lougheed Hwy. She organized a petition against that location;
  • Lisa Sullivan, a resident of Cliff Avenue, who had to face the tent camp in front of her house in 2015;
  • Rob Thiessen, managing director with the Hope for Freedom Society, which operates faith-based support recovery housing in Maple Ridge;
  • Darin Froese, formerly with B.C. Housing, now with New Vista Society, a senior's housing agency;
  • Jessie Stretch, a Maple Ridge volunteer who collected used needles;
  • Sandy McDougall, a former City Councillor and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News journalist.
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