2014 homeless count conducted in Abbotsford

Service providers believe number could rise following Tuesday's count

The Fraser Valley Regional District homeless count was conducted on Tuesday.

Volunteers fanned out Tuesday in hopes of finding those who are homeless, to obtain more information about who they are and how they live.

Ward Draper, a pastor with 5 and 2 Ministries and a co-ordinator of the survey in Abbotsford, said they “are trying to get a snapshot of what’s happening in the Valley.”

Results will be released later this spring.

The last Fraser Valley Regional District homelessness survey was conducted in 2011, and the data was compiled in a report by Anita van Wyk of the University of the Fraser Valley and Ron van Wyk of the Mennonite Central Committee.

That count found 345 people to be homeless in the Valley. In Abbotsford, 117 people were located.

But the report acknowledged that the number is at best an estimation, and Draper said various factors, including rain and bad weather in 2011, meant the count was skewed.

With Wednesday’s weather clear and warm, he hopes that the number is more accurate – meaning higher – but said it is still difficult to count the homeless in Abbotsford, which has a large geographic area.

It’s also difficult to account for the number of people who are technically homeless, but are staying with friends or couch surfing.

Draper also said that with the many issues that have arisen with homelessness in Abbotsford, some people on the streets have set up camps in highly visible areas, and others have moved farther out to avoid authorities.

The survey asks questions about age and gender, and whether a person is aboriginal, to gather demographic information.

Also important is determining what services Abbotsford’s homeless are accessing.

“The count is important to give us a better understanding of how many folks are there … and if we are making progress and solving some of these issues.”

Finding and surveying the homeless is not an exact science, and some people are only willing to provide the barest information.

While numbers dropped between 2008 and 2011 due to some of the difficulties in data collection, Draper said it wouldn’t be surprising to see the number rise again.

“The core homeless guys are still the same homeless guys I’ve seen for years. If anything, I’ve seen new faces, more women, and a lot more First Nations.”

Just Posted

Langley retreat focuses on exercise for people living with Parkinson’s

For the second time, RISE organizers are hosting a four-day wellness and exercise event at Trinity

Is this your stolen stuff? Edmonton police post pictures online

Langley residents may be among victims of a three-year-crime spree that began in B.C.

GREEN BEAT: Langley students join fight against invasive species

Invasive species action from weeding to watching, what actions did you take to tackle this issue?

Langley’s Wyatt twins make Pan Am team

Wyatts back home after completing freshman year at University of Memphis

COOKING IN LANGLEY: Baffled by mis-information, especially when it comes to nutrition

In this Chef Dez column, he’s asking readers where they’re getting their information

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Parents of BC murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read