Homelessness

The Province is committed to addressing the housing and support needs for people who are homeless.

There are more than 11,000 subsidized units, rent supplements and emergency shelter spaces for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, across British Columbia.

Learn more on this page about:

The Homeless Outreach and Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Programs
The Homeless Prevention Program
The Emergency Shelter Program
The Extreme Weather Response Program
Homelessness Action Plan
Province-wide Homeless Count
Modular Housing
Supportive Housing
The Women's Transition Housing and Supports Program

The Homeless Outreach and Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program

The Homeless Outreach and Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program provide a first point of contact for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

These programs help connect people with key support services, taking into account the individual’s specific housing, health, and cultural needs. These services help people who are homeless to transition to safe, permanent housing solutions. Outreach teams provide support in 60 communities throughout B.C. For more information, please visit BC Housing

The Homeless Prevention Program

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
  • Indigenous people who are at risk of homelessness

Learn more at BC Housing about the Homeless Prevention Program.

The Emergency Shelter Program

The Emergency Shelter Program provides funding to shelters and drop-in centres to help connect people who are homeless to housing and support services in addition to offering temporary shelter, food and other services. For more information, please visit BC Housing.

The Extreme Weather Response Program

The Extreme Weather Response Program provides people who are 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. For more information, please visit BC Housing.

Homelessness Action Plan

The Premier's July 2017 mandate letters to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction included direction to:

"Work in partnership to develop a homelessness action plan to reduce the homeless population through permanent housing and services. As part of the plan, conduct a province-wide homelessness count".

Development of the Homelessness Action Plan is being led by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, in collaboration with the the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and BC Housing.

Province-wide Homeless Count

Information gathered from homelessness counts in 2017 and 2018 will inform the Homelessness Action Plan.

  • The Province coordinated and funded counts of people who are homeless during March and April 2018. Communities participating in 2018 were: Campbell River, Comox Valley, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Parksville & Qualicum Beach, Penticton, Prince Rupert, Sechelt, Smithers and Williams Lake.
  • Communities that conducted homeless counts in 2017 were: Duncan, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley Regional District and Vernon.
  • Six B.C. communities will conduct homelessness counts in 2018 with funding from the federal government's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). These six communities are: Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Nelson, Prince George and Victoria.

The Province will compile the data from all these counts. Combined, this will capture approximately 85% of the population.

Modular Housing

In September 2017, the Province stated it was investing $291 million over two years to build 2,000 modular supportive housing units across B.C. for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition, more than $170 million is being committed over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services to people living in the modular homes. This modular housing initiative will deliver a mix of permanent and temporary units.

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing provides individuals with mental health and/or substance use and/or other challenges 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. For more information, please visit BC Housing.

Women’s Transition Housing and Supports

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. 

In 2016, approximately 18,000 women and children stayed at Transition Houses and Safe Homes in British Columbia. For more information, please visit BC Housing.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: April 25, 2018.