Homelessness count records 79 per cent increase in Abbotsford

The 2017 Homelessness Count found 271 people without housing in Abbotsford, up from 151 in 2014.

The Fraser Valley saw a dramatic increase in homelessness between 2014 and 2017

The Fraser Valley saw a dramatic increase in homelessness between 2014 and 2017

This month’s homelessness count has confirmed that number of men, women and youth without housing has risen dramatically since 2014.

The count, which took place on March 8, found 271 people experiencing homelessness. That’s a 79 per cent increase since 2014, when 151 people were counted.

The increase isn’t specific to Abbotsford. A 74 per cent increase in homelessness was recorded through the entire Fraser Valley Regional District – which extends from Abbotsford and Mission in the west to Hope and the Fraser Canyon in the east.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said that although housing is a provincial responsibility, the city’s working to address the problem through its Homelessness Action Plan, and several other initiatives.

Residents have also begun to be admitted to the new Gladys Avenue supportive housing facility, called Hearthstone Place. As of the time of the count, the facility had six residents, with 24 more people to be admitted during a “gradual entry phase.”

Watch Friday’s Abbotsford News for more.