Homeless people in Langley in 2019. (Langley Advance Times files)

Volunteers sought for first homeless count in Langley in three years

It will be the first snapshot of local homelessness since the arrival of supportive housing

The B.C. government will be running a second provincial homeless count this March and April.

The last provincial homelessness count, in 2018, did not actually count people in Metro Vancouver, but relied on a locally-organized 2017 count.

This year’s count will take place concurrently with the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count, which is scheduled for March, and is run by the Vancity Community Foundation. The foundation is currently seeking volunteers for the night of the count.

It will be the first time since 2017 that there has been an attempt to track the total number of people without any permanent housing in Langley.

Three years ago, there were 206 homeless people counted on the streets and in shelters in Langley during that count.

It’s unknown what the current numbers are, but a major change since then has been the opening last fall of the Creek Stone Place supportive housing complex.

The renovated former Quality Inn on 200th Street took in 49 people, all of them local homeless people. The site is primarily funded by BC Housing, but is locally managed by the Stepping Stone Community Services Society. It also houses the offices of the local Integrated Case Management (ICM) team, a unit aimed at helping people with drug addictions, particularly those living on the street or with mental illness.

Unlike in some communities, including Vancouver and Maple Ridge, Langley City and Township have both resisted the creation of long-term homeless camps anywhere in the community.

Camps of more than a few individuals are often cleared out by bylaw officers, a practice which, as Township officials noted during recent budget discussions, has become increasingly expensive.

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