A count of homeless people, coordinated through the Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, found that on the North Shore there were 44 people found homeless in 2002 and that by 2005 this had risen to 85 individuals (an increase of 93 per cent). By 2008 the figures of North Shore homeless had risen to 127.
Of those counted in 2005, 66 reported that their last permanent home was in one of the North Shore municipalities. The results from the 2008 Homeless Count indicated an increase to 127 homeless persons on the North Shore: 60 living in shelters and 67 living on the streets. The latest count results from 2011 indicated a slight decrease in the total homeless population since 2008 from 127 to 122 people: 67 sheltered and 55 unsheltered. The results from the latest 2014 Homeless Count are not yet available but it is apparent that there is still a significant homeless population on the North Shore.
Figures from the counts were derived during a 24 hour “snap shot” and thought to be an under count of the actual homeless. Service providers on the North Shore estimate that there are currently 230 persons who are homeless across the three North Shore municipalities.
In addition to the absolute homeless, there are now at least 4,740 renter households on the North Shore who spend 30 per cent or more of their income on shelter costs. This burden poses a threat for becoming homeless and is referred to as a “core need”. Within this group, 2540 households are “In Core Need and Paying at Least Half of their Pre-tax Income on Shelter” (INAHL) (2005). On the North Shore there are 580 people on waitlists for subsidized housing (BC Housing), including 148 seniors and 99 persons with disabilities. Of those, approximately 203 (35 per cent) require one or more additional bedrooms.
The 2005/06 vacancy rates point to a critical shortage of rental units on the North Shore: 0.1 percent vacancy in West Vancouver, 0.3 percent vacancy in the District of North Vancouver, and 0.5 percent vacancy in the City of North Vancouver. In each municipality the vacancy rate has fallen since the 2005 Homeless Count.
There are now 2,302 subsidized units on the North Shore, intended for families, seniors, singles and Urban Native households. These include co-ops, facilities operated by non-profit organizations and units directly managed by BC Housing.
There is an estimated shortfall of at least 2540 below market housing units.