This week is Homelessness Action Week. This week we encourage everyone to learn about homelessness, the work being done and how to get involved. Events are being held across the province to educate everyone about homelessness, and to help those experiencing homelessness.
In order to understand why we need to act on homelessness we encourage everyone to learn more. The most complete source of information in Victoria is the Report on Housing and Supports. This is released each year by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (Coalition) and the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC.
The report outlines data from six key areas of homelessness: housing, income, temporary accommodation, emergency shelters, and housing and outreach programs. This research helps us understand the factors that contribute to homelessness and poverty in Greater Victoria, and to identify specific service and infrastructure needs in the community.
2011/12 Report on Housing and Supports: Quiet Crisis: Homelessness and At Risk in Greater Victoria
Contributors to Homelessness
- The gap between income and housing costs is one of the most important contributors to homelessness in Greater Victoria
- Although vacancy rates across the region have increased, rental rates have also increased – accommodation may be more available, but it’s not more affordable.
- Resources available to individuals and families on low incomes have not increased – they still cannot afford current rental market rates.
At Risk of Homelessness
- Subsidized housing continues to be difficult to access with 1,545 people on the Housing Registry
- Food bank use is slightly down over the year, but still up compared to 2008.
Extent of Homelessness
- 1,617 unique individuals used an emergency shelter bed in five of six emergency shelters in Greater Victoria
- The number of individuals may be similar to 2010/11; the occupancy rate of emergency shelters has increased from 95% to 111%
- On a single night, 1,205 people were counted in temporary accommodation in our region
- Greater Victoria service providers are consistently housing people and keeping them housed
- There have been limited new subsidized units added to the affordable housing stock
- Increase the number of rental supplements available and the number of households accessing them
- Increase the number of subsidized housing units in our community
- Increased understanding of housing needs of particular subgroups (e.g. families, youth, Aboriginal peoples, etc.)
- Established a shared, integrated information database