Last month, the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition sent a letter to the City of Richmond requesting that Oct. 11 to 17, 2020 be declared as “Homeless Action Week.” Thanks to a speedy turnaround by the mayor and councillors, the proclamation is now official.
The request is partly in response to the statistics revealed by the homeless count in March. The number of homeless residents in the city has risen from 70 to 85 — which is actually an undercount as reported by outreach workers who estimate the number to be closer to 200 — a 21 per cent increase since the last count three years ago. This is despite the opening of the Alderbridge 40-unit modular housing project, the 30-bed Salvation Army shelter and the recently opened 30-bed Emergency Response Centre. The upward tick is an unfortunate trend seen throughout the Lower Mainland.
Homeless Action Week is another step towards increasing awareness of people’s complex needs, as well as supporting other community resources resources to allow homeless residents to be housed and live complete and valued lives.