NEWS

Tri-Cities homeless count and shelter use increases

04/09/2015 05:55 EDT | Updated 06/09/2015 05:59 EDT
The mayor of Port Coquitlam, B.C., says the Tri-Cities is not losing the fight against homelessness even though temporary shelter use has doubled in the last year.

An average of 29 people used the shelters each night during the 2014-2015 season, compared to 14 in the previous year, said the non-profit Hope for Freedom Society. 

The number of homeless people also went up from approximately 40 to 60.     

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore says the increase raises concerns, but he attributes the rise to the result of homeless people from other parts of Metro Vancouver coming to the Tri-Cities. He also maintains homeless programs in his region have been a success.

"As much as our homeless numbers have increased over the past year, we don't have any chronically homeless people living on our streets, meaning people that are on the streets in Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam or Port Moody — they're only there recently," he told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"They haven't been on the streets for two, three or five or 10 years."

Part of the Tri-Cities' strategy involves partnering with the Hope for Freedom Society, which seeks out homeless people and connects them to resources. The non-profit operates a mat program that rotates between churches.

As a result of their efforts, the homeless count has gone down significantly over the past few years, said Moore.

"I don't know if anybody else can name a city within this region, or even within the country, that has taken its homeless resident count from over 200 to less than 30 in a five-year period," he said.

"I think part of the success is [the fact that] it is the community that is providing the service."

To hear the full interview with Greg Moore, listen to the audio labelled: Homeless count up in Tri-Cities

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