Numbers down in Langley homeless count

Fewer people were found to be living without permanent shelter than during the previous count in 2011

There are fewer homeless people in Langley this year, than there were in 2011.

The final numbers are in from the one-day Metro Vancouver homeless count.

It saw an 11 per cent decrease in Langley’s homeless population in 2014.

On the day of the count, March 12, volunteers located 92 people who were homeless in Langley and Aldergrove.

Volunteers went out to known homeless camps, gathering spots and to the Gateway of Hope to gather information about Langley’s homeless population.

More than 900 volunteers fanned out across the region to obtain a 24-hour snapshot of people who are homeless.

A preliminary report came out in April but now the final numbers are now in.

The last count was done in 2011.

At that time, Langley’s volunteers counted 103 people who were homeless.

In 2008 there were 86, and in 2005, there were 57 people homeless.

When the count began, in 2002, Langley only had 18 homeless people counted.

Most communities in Metro Vancouver saw a significant drop this year.

Langley has the third highest number of children and youth living on the streets, with only Vancouver and Surrey higher. In fact, 16 teens were found to be unsheltered.

But Loren Roberts of the Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services said that number paints an inaccurate picture.

“The count numbers do not reflect what we currently see in Langley. For example, as the weather improves we see a decline in youth connecting with our services.  Right now we are aware of five youth who are homeless in our community, but four are not accessing our services because they can be quite resilient and independent in the warm weather,” said Roberts.

But ANS said the numbers still point to the need for a youth shelter here in Langley, something that so far doesn’t exist.

He has been working hard to make that happen and has received a lot of support from the Township.

He is hoping to work further with the City.

While all homeless counts are undercounts, it appears the number of people who are homeless is down or stable across Metro Vancouver, excluding Vancouver, which saw a significant increase.

The report from the Homeless Steering Committee said further research needs to be done to figure out why there appears to be fewer homeless people in Metro Vancouver. Are they getting quicker and more successful access to housing and support? Or are there less people becoming homeless? The answer to those questions isn’t clear.

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