Metro Vancouver’s first ever Youth Homeless Count begins this week.
Anonymous surveys will be conducted over a nine-day period at youth centres, high schools, shelters and other youth-serving organizations to better understand the homeless youth population. The survey is intended for those 13 to 24.
To help reach more young people in this community, the Langley Youth Hub has an event Tuesday, April 10.
The count will collect data on the number of young people who are homeless in the region to assist government agencies and organizations in responding with appropriate policies and services.
It will also help with understanding the causes and conditions that lead to youth homelessness in the region. The face of youth homelessness is distinct from the adult homeless population.
The count is also expected to help increase awareness of the issue.
Count events are taking place throughout Metro Vancouver between April 4 and 12. Metro Vancouver has enlisted help from schools, community groups and agencies that deal with youth. As well, it has announced specific magnet events in various member municipalities to attract more youth to take part, partnering with groups in those communities.
“These are organizations that typically interact with youth,” explained Greg Valou, with Metro Vancouver.
Youth Homeless Count events:
• Richmond: April 4, Richmond Brighouse Library, 7700 Minoru Gate, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Free food, video games, green screen movie and photos, makeovers, and more.
• Burnaby: April 5, Burnaby Youth Hub, 4750 Imperial St., from 4 to 7 p.m.
Dinner and movie night, bus tickets, secure storage, and WIFI available.
• Coquitlam: April 5 and 6, Coquitlam Centre, 2929 Barnet Hwy., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Free transit passes and a draw for a new bike.
• Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows: April 5, Greg Moore Youth Centre, 11925 Haney Pl., from 6 to 9 p.m.
Free pizza, entertainment and activities.
• Vancouver: April 5, Covenant House, 326 West Pender St., from 2 to 5 p.m.
Free pizza, entertainment, transit passes and more.
• Vancouver: April 6 and 13, Broadway Youth Resource Centre, 2455 Fraser St.
Free pizza dinner and movie night. Bus tickets provided.
• Langley: April 10, Langley Youth Hub, 6275 203rd St., from 3 to 7 p.m.
Pizza night and regular drop in programming.
There are also a count event taking place at North Vancouver’s YWCA but the date has not been finalized.
Metro Vancouver created a homelessness task force in 2016 because of the significant rise in homeless numbers throughout the region.
There are currently more than 70 homeless camps in the region and Metro Vancouver, with its member municipalities, does counts to obtain information to use when lobbying other levels of government.
Metro Van’s homeless action plan seeks to prevent homelessness, help those who are currently homeless and create pathways out of homelessness.
A regional homeless survey was done in 2017, with the plan to do one every three years. The federal government said it was going to a two-year survey schedule so Metro Vancouver is trying to synchronize its schedule.
Metro Van opted to do a youth survey to get more accurate information on that demotraphic. The next regional homeless survey will be done in 2020.