Homelessness

Through the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, the BC government has made considerable progress in addressing homelessness in BC communities. In partnership with federal and local governments, and community agencies, the BC government has invested over $2.5 billion into housing programs and initiatives.

Recognizing that the factors influencing homelessness are broad, and that no one solution exists, outreach, shelters, rent supplements and supportive housing are all supported under the strategy. There are currently more than 11,000 subsidized units, rent supplements and emergency shelter spaces for those who were homeless or at risk, across British Columbia.

The Homeless Outreach and Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program provide a first point of contact for those living on the streets and act as gateways to important support services, taking into account an individual’s housing, health, and cultural needs. They help the homeless as they transition to stable, permanent housing solutions. Outreach teams now provide support in 60 communities throughout BC. For more information, please visit BC Housing

The Emergency Shelter Program provides funding to shelters and drop-in centres that help connect people who are homeless to housing and support services in addition to offering temporary shelter, food and other support services. Since 2001, the BC government has doubled the number of shelter beds available and there are now over 1,800 permanent, year-round beds throughout the province. For more information, please visit BC Housing

Supportive Housing provides individuals with complex challenges or care needs with the housing and support services necessary to help them live as independently as possible, and help break the cycle of homelessness. The Province, through BC Housing, works in partnership with non-profit societies and local communities to develop a range of supportive housing options. The province has partnerships with eight B.C. communities to create more than 2,100 new units of low-barrier, supportive housing. For more information, please visit BC Housing 

The Extreme Weather Response Program provides the homeless with warm, dry, shelter in the event of severe weather. Issuing an extreme weather alert is done by individual communities according to local conditions. There are more than 1300 shelter spaces in communities across BC. For more information, please visit BC Housing

Women’s Transition Housing and Supports provides women (with or without dependent children) who have experienced violence or are at risk of experiencing violence with temporary shelter/housing and support services. Transition Houses, Safe Homes and Second Stage Housing are located throughout the province and provide immediate and ongoing support, helping women who have left abusive relationships transition to independent living.  Last year, approximately 18,000 women and children stayed at Transition Houses and Safe Homes in British Columbia. For more information, please visit BC Housing

The Homeless Prevention Program provides people in identified at-risk groups facing homelessness with portable rent supplements to help them access rental housing in the private market. The program assists:

  • youth transitioning out of foster care
  • women who have experienced violence or are at risk of violence
  • people leaving the correctional and hospital systems
  • individuals of Aboriginal descent

For more information, please visit BC Housing