Number of homeless rises dramatically in Nanaimo: report

Number of homeless rises dramatically in Nanaimo: report

The 2018 Nanaimo Point-in-Time Homeless Count finds the number of people experiencing homelessness in the city is rising dramatically.

The biannual survey carried out by the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition on April 18th found that the minimum number of people experiencing absolute homelessness was 335.

That compares with 174 in the previous survey done in the winter of 2016.

“Although this figure is substantially higher than the previous PiT Count in 2016, it is entirely consistent with recent observations of Nanaimo social service agency workers and the local RCMP,” reads the report’s executive summary.

On the day of the count, 55 per cent of those who completed a survey were staying in public spaces, vehicles, makeshift shelters or in places not intended for permanent human habitation.

Almost one third did not know where they would be staying on that night.

In the count, 68.3 per cent identified as men and 29 per cent identified as women. The majority (55 per cent) were between the ages of 25 and 44.

The survey found that most had either always lived in Nanaimo or had been there for several years, only three identified as being immigrants to Canada.

“People experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo are from Nanaimo: They are members of our community, and possibly our friends, brothers, aunts, cousins, children, or parents,” thereport read.

The main causes cited were unaffordable rent, low income, addiction, and discrimination.

Close to a third of the people surveyed identified as First Nations, Metis or having Indigenous ancestry, up from 24 per cent in 2016.

Seventy-two per cent said they’d been homeless for six or more months, but the survey also found that 11 per cent had only become homeless in the three months prior to April 18.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy PiT Count is intended to count the minimum number of people who are homeless in a community over one 24-hour period.

You can read the full report here.


Ben O'HaraBen O'Hara

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