Homeless people in the Fraser Valley are more likely to be young, female and addicted than those elsewhere in the Lower Mainland.
Those are some of the contrasts visible in a new joint report on homelessness from the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts.
Homelessness rose by 40 per cent in the region from 2011 to 2017, with 4,211 people tallied on March 7 and 8 in this year’s count.
Of the 606 individuals found in the Fraser Valley – Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Harrison Hot Springs, Kent and Hope – 60 per cent slept in a shelter, 33 per cent unsheltered and seven per cent in an extreme-weather-response shelter.
Those younger than 25 years old made up 22 per cent of homeless people in the Fraser Valley, compared to 16 per cent in Metro Vancouver.
Seniors make up a smaller portion of the Valley’s homeless population (15 per cent) than Metro Vancouver’s (21 per cent).
Sixty-five per cent of Valley respondents were male, 35 per cent female and one per cent identified as neither. In Metro Vancouver, 72 per cent of those counted were male, 27 per cent female and one percent identified as another gender.
In the Fraser Valley, 69 per cent of respondents were experiencing addiction, 50 per cent had a medical condition, 48 per cent had a mental illness and 30 per cent had a physical disability. In Metro Vancouver, 53 per cent had an addiction, 44 per cent a medical condition, 38 per cent a mental illness and 33 per cent a physical disability.