Homelessness

Mayor Henry Braun says the City of Abbotsford has made major strides in improving its relationship with the local homeless population over the past half-decade. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo

Abbotsford mayor ‘cautiously optimistic’ for federal homeless fund application

Designated community status would provide $1-3 million per year in funding to fight homelessness

Mayor Henry Braun says the City of Abbotsford has made major strides in improving its relationship with the local homeless population over the past half-decade. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo
Peggy Allen’s long driveway is the frontier between what is effectively ground zero for homelessness in Abbotsford and Allen’s home, where she faced years of conflict with the local homeless population. Allen has since had a change in paradigms that has led her to working with the homeless community to improve conditions on the streets. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Vigilante to volunteer: An Abbotsford woman’s change of heart on homelessness

Peggy Allen had 400 calls into police about homeless near her home. Now she’s fighting for them

Peggy Allen’s long driveway is the frontier between what is effectively ground zero for homelessness in Abbotsford and Allen’s home, where she faced years of conflict with the local homeless population. Allen has since had a change in paradigms that has led her to working with the homeless community to improve conditions on the streets. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Melissa Giles, director of programs for the Mennonite Central Committee, says the Fraser Valley Rent Assistance Program has sent a letter to the provincial government offering its years of experience as guidance for a $10-million rent bank being set up by the province. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Fraser Valley rent bank offers guidance as province plans $10M rent bank

Fraser Valley Rent Assistance Program has years of wisdom to offer provincial plan, official says

Melissa Giles, director of programs for the Mennonite Central Committee, says the Fraser Valley Rent Assistance Program has sent a letter to the provincial government offering its years of experience as guidance for a $10-million rent bank being set up by the province. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
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Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

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Harvey Clause, an Abbotsford homeless man and advocate, reflects on a few fatal overdoses over the past few weeks. Clause says grieving while homeless holds distinct challenges with little for privacy and little time to process grief. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Nowhere to grieve: Processing loss on Abbotsford’s streets

Homeless advocate Harvey Clause says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

Harvey Clause, an Abbotsford homeless man and advocate, reflects on a few fatal overdoses over the past few weeks. Clause says grieving while homeless holds distinct challenges with little for privacy and little time to process grief. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap

Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap

City calls camp removals a safety issue, advocates say actions risk health and safety of homeless

Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap
The City of Abbotsford will be hosting a regional forum on homelessness on Feb. 21. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo

City of Abbotsford to host regional homelessness forum

City will show off co-ordinated intake and referral pilot program, which is set to close in March

The City of Abbotsford will be hosting a regional forum on homelessness on Feb. 21. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo
Authorities work with homeless to clear a camp at a frequently occupied spot across the street from the Salvation Army on Gladys Avenue. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo

Death a reminder of vulnerability for Abbotsford homeless workers

Co-ordinated intake and referral program update notes a death and two hospitalizations in December

Authorities work with homeless to clear a camp at a frequently occupied spot across the street from the Salvation Army on Gladys Avenue. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo
Jenny Vanderheide, co-ordinator of the Gateway Christian Reformed Church extreme weather shelter, says the 30-bed shelter has seen over 160 individuals utilize the service so far this winter season.                                 Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford winter weather shelter prepares for cold snap this weekend

Gateway Church shelter operator expects a full house with temperatures forecast to dip to -8 C

Jenny Vanderheide, co-ordinator of the Gateway Christian Reformed Church extreme weather shelter, says the 30-bed shelter has seen over 160 individuals utilize the service so far this winter season.                                 Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
EDITORIAL: Before you condemn the homeless, breathe

EDITORIAL: Before you condemn the homeless, breathe

What we can take away from Finding A Way Home, tales of love and connection on the streets of Abbotsford

  • Jan 3, 2019
EDITORIAL: Before you condemn the homeless, breathe
A WAY HOME: Bonds formed on Abbotsford’s front lines of homelessness

A WAY HOME: Bonds formed on Abbotsford’s front lines of homelessness

Non-profit work can involve a lot of burnout, but for many the rewards come from those around them

A WAY HOME: Bonds formed on Abbotsford’s front lines of homelessness
A cycle persists on Gladys Avenue. Homeless camps are set up, and homeless camps are taken down seemingly in perpetuity. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

The evolving relationship between the homeless and Abbotsford City Hall

Since the chicken manure incident, that relationship has largely improved, Mayor Henry Braun says

A cycle persists on Gladys Avenue. Homeless camps are set up, and homeless camps are taken down seemingly in perpetuity. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Jenni Johnson (right) and Jordie Lynn both have aged out of the foster system, which they say leaves youths ill-prepared for life on their own feet. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

‘It’s like a trap; it’s like they don’t want you to succeed’

Abbotsford youths formerly in government care speak out on how the system can foster homelessness

Jenni Johnson (right) and Jordie Lynn both have aged out of the foster system, which they say leaves youths ill-prepared for life on their own feet. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Jenni Johnson (right) and Jordie Lynn both have aged out of the foster system, which they say leaves youths ill-prepared for life on their own feet. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A WAY HOME: Ministry responds to criticism of foster system

Ministry says number of youth in system is shrinking, more being done to help youth transition

Jenni Johnson (right) and Jordie Lynn both have aged out of the foster system, which they say leaves youths ill-prepared for life on their own feet. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Zanzara Huebsch stands in her living room near a picture of her son, Kevan Bardell, who died of an overdose on Gladys Avenue on June 6, 2017 after years of homelessness. Huebsch says her son struggled with addictions, which she believes spiralled out of control after he was attacked and severely beaten. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Shining Son: A light lost from an Abbotsford mother’s life

A year-and-a-half later, Zanzara Huebsch struggles to cope with the loss of her son

Zanzara Huebsch stands in her living room near a picture of her son, Kevan Bardell, who died of an overdose on Gladys Avenue on June 6, 2017 after years of homelessness. Huebsch says her son struggled with addictions, which she believes spiralled out of control after he was attacked and severely beaten. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Abbotsford homeless count could be improved: harm reduction worker

Abbotsford homeless count could be improved: harm reduction worker

Single-day methodology ‘invariably’ yields low count, weather-dependent results, Jesse Wegenast says

Abbotsford homeless count could be improved: harm reduction worker
Colleen Aitken, affectionately known by many of her peers as “Mom,” fits her matriarchal title well. She keeps guard of some of the younger, vulnerable individuals on the streets and she provides for those who need help. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

The Mom of Abbotsford’s streets

Colleen Aitken is often called ‘Mom’ for her advice, her protective eye and her care for her ‘little ones’

Colleen Aitken, affectionately known by many of her peers as “Mom,” fits her matriarchal title well. She keeps guard of some of the younger, vulnerable individuals on the streets and she provides for those who need help. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless

Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless

Responsibility over a cat or dog makes Gary Hull take fewer risks and take better care of himself

Best Friends: How pets can improve the lives of Abbotsford’s homeless
Brad Wernicke and Becky Bird say being a couple on the streets poses some challenges, but it also yields some benefits to their situation, including security and a sense of responsibility to one another. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Somebody to love: Comforts and challenges as a couple on the streets

Life as a homeless couple forces ultimatums; it also brings the security of having each other’s back

Brad Wernicke and Becky Bird say being a couple on the streets poses some challenges, but it also yields some benefits to their situation, including security and a sense of responsibility to one another. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
Harvey Clause drives his bicycle and trolley everywhere he goes, but his load has gotten slimmer over time. In his binning days, he would carry multiple trolleys behind his bike, but he now just hauls the one. He’s got space to hold some of his stuff at the seniors’ winter shelter, and no longer needs to haul around loads of recyclables and other items he’s found in the bins. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A WAY HOME: Abbotsford’s greenest citizens

Service provider says the homeless population is Abbotsford’s most environmentally friendly

Harvey Clause drives his bicycle and trolley everywhere he goes, but his load has gotten slimmer over time. In his binning days, he would carry multiple trolleys behind his bike, but he now just hauls the one. He’s got space to hold some of his stuff at the seniors’ winter shelter, and no longer needs to haul around loads of recyclables and other items he’s found in the bins. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News