More than 100 military veterans homeless in Vancouver

Veterans without a home

More than 100 veterans are homeless on the streets of Vancouver.

A total of 108 people counted as homeless in March said they served in the army, navy, air force, RCMP or a foreign armed force before they ended up on the street or in a shelter.

The numbers could be higher because only 1,226 people responded to the survey that volunteers conducted when they approached 2,223 homeless people during the 24-hour count.

The city also acknowledges volunteers don’t find all homeless people.

The statistics, which were not available for public release when the city presented its preliminary findings in June, do not break down exactly where the person served, or for how long.

But the report, which was recently posted on the city’s website, said 52 were counted in shelters and 56 were considered unsheltered, which includes people who were staying in a vehicle, or sleeping on someone’s couch.

A total of 17 said they had served in a force outside Canada.

The report, which provides further detail on city staff’s presentation to council in June, was prepared by the Homelessness Services Association of B.C., the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association and Urban Matters CCC.

Veterans Affairs Canada requested such polling occur so organizations could understand the scope of services homeless veterans require.

One government study identified an estimated 2,950 homeless veterans staying in shelters across the country.

Of 979 people who were polled about where they lived prior to coming to Vancouver and becoming homeless, the statistics are as follows: 89 from outside of Canada, 156 from elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, 299 from the rest of B.C. and 435 from the rest of Canada.

The 2,223 people counted as homeless in March was a record-breaking statistic. In 2005, the homeless population in Vancouver was recorded at 1,364, the lowest it’s been in the past 12 years.

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