A recently completed point-in-time homeless count found the number of people experiencing homelessness on Salt Spring has grown by 58 per cent since 2016.
“We have a dire need for housing stock. There’s simply not enough housing to support the population,” said Salt Spring Island Community Services’ Housing First coordinator Kyla Duncan. “Landlords can charge what they want, so even the housing that is there is really quite unattainable for people that I see in my position.”
The count found that 131 people were homeless on Salt Spring on March 13, compared to 83 in the 2016 count. Out of a population of 10,500 on the island, 1.25 per cent are without homes.
The number of “unsheltered” people rose from 55 in 2016 to 63, and those “provisionally accommodated” from 23 to 39. The latter category includes couch surfers, and people in transitional housing, a hotel or hospital. With the closure of the In From the Cold winter shelter at Community Services on March 31, the number of people who are unsheltered is expected to rise even further to 89.
For more on this story, see the April 4, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.