Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness
Still on our streets…
Results of the 2008 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count
September 16, 2008
This executive summary is designed to provide readers with a summary of the results of the
2008 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count conducted on March 11, 2008.
Readers who are
interested in the results beyond what is provided here should consult the final report which is
available on the Metro Vancouver website.
The 2008 homeless count was aimed at providing an updated estimate of the number and
scope of homelessness in Metro Vancouver –– the demographic profile as well as trends –– in
the homeless population since the 2002 and 2005 counts.
The count covered all Metro Vancouver municipalities, except Bowen Island, Anmore, and
Belcarra, where local representatives contacted before the count suggested that there were no
locations where the homeless either congregated or could be found.
For the purposes of the count, an individual was considered to be homeless if they did not have
a place of their own where they could expect to stay for more than 30 days and did not pay rent.
This included people who had no physical shelter, who for example stayed on the street, in
doorways, in parkades, in parks, on beaches, as well as those who were temporarily sheltered
in emergency shelters, youth safe houses, or transition houses for women and their children
People who stayed at the home of a friend, commonly referred to as “sofa
surfers,” were also considered to be homeless and included in the count, provided they had no
security of tenure and did not pay rent.
The terms “unsheltered” and “street/service homeless” are used interchangeably to refer to
homeless people who, on the day of the count, had no physical shelter and stayed on the street,
in alleys, doorways, parkades, parks, on beaches, or sofa surfed.
“Sheltered” homeless also
refers to homeless people who sought shelter on the night of the count in emergency shelters,
youth safe houses, or transition houses for women and their children fleeing abuse.
The count used the “point-in-time” methodology in which all the people who are homeless on a
given day are counted.
This approach is the preferred approach to counting homeless people
across North America.
The approach contrasts with a “period relevance” count in which the