Vancouver’s homeless community is a “mixed bag” of individuals, said Vancouver’s chief executive, Jim Pattison.
“People come in with a plan, a goal, and then they become part of the problem,” Pattison told reporters Monday.
“You can’t blame somebody who’s just lost their home or their car.
People get caught up in the mess.”
Pattison said he hopes the government will soon introduce legislation to ensure people are kept off the roads if they’re homeless.
“It’s just so frustrating, and I think we need to do something,” Pattisons said.
“I’m hoping that we will see something soon that’s going to help a lot of people.”
Homelessness rates in Vancouver, British Columbia, have risen by nearly 10 per cent since 2010, according to Statistics Canada.
The number of homeless people has jumped from a little more than 2,500 in 2015 to more than 12,500 last year, according the B.C. Association of Municipalities.
B.C.’s homeless population rose from 486 in 2011 to 2,837 in 2016, according Statistics Canada, and is now at 5,634 people.
Pattison said Vancouver is not immune to the homelessness crisis.
“We are certainly seeing a trend with the increase in homelessness in Vancouver,” he said.
He said Vancouver will continue to take in more and more people in the coming months as the city continues to add services to the homeless population.
“That’s what we’re doing right now,” Pattinson said.
Vancouver’s city council voted to allow the homeless to stay off the street for up to six months if they are staying with family or friends.
But the council said it would not extend the ban to individuals who are sleeping on the streets or in shelters.
“This will allow people to live with family and friends,” said Coun.
Nick Kouvalis, who voted against the motion.
Cities across Canada have seen an increase in the number of people living on the street, with a number of them experiencing homelessness, according a report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
More than three million people in Canada have experienced homelessness in 2017, according data from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Canada is home to the world’s highest number of mentally ill people, with more than 1,200 people a day dying from mental illness, according Mental Health Canada.
In 2016, there were more than 300,000 people living with mental illness in Canada.