Douglas Todd: Homeless Painful Demographics

Analysis: Many homeless men come from a very high proportion of indigenous peoples, ex-military personnel, and black Canadians without shelters.

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They are injured construction workers who need to kill pain, ex-soldiers with trauma, spouses who have fled conflict, and indigenous members who cannot afford spare housing.

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Such a history is common among men, who make up 68% of all British Columbia homeless people. Defender of the homeless of time.

“Many men are thrown away at certain times in their lives,” Graves said. They survive in shelters, tents and couchsurfing as their jobs and families collapse, being overwhelmed by despair and becoming addicted.

Graves, released this month, shows many reasons why men are so overrated, with BC’s latest number of homeless people focusing on demographics more than in the past. Count found 8,665 people in a state without shelter. This is an 11 percent increase from 2018.

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According to a count of 25 across the state, many of the men come from a very high percentage of indigenous, ex-military, and homeless African-Canadians.

Indigenous people make up only 1 in 20 of the population, while 2 in 5 homeless residents are indigenous. 6% belong to the military or RCMP and are “extremely overrated” by those who do not have a home.

For the first time, state-wide counts include racial data. We found that 63% of homeless people are white, which is about the same as the overall proportion, but 3% are black, even though only 1% of British Columbia’s population is black.

People in South Asia make up only 2% of the homeless, which is much lower than the overall cohort of 11%. And East Asians, including Chinese, make up only 2%, even though they make up 12% of all residents. The tomb partially owes such discoveries to “strong cultural support for the family.”

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As a person who has participated in a large number of homeless people and continues to meet the street people of Metro Vancouver, Graves talks to men of various ethnic backgrounds and nationalities who have longed for a temporary shelter. did.

Many have become addicted to opioids after being repeatedly injured in construction, military, police, or other physically dangerous work. “They are caught between their pain and leaving the workforce.”

Many of the men she came to know also left home because of conflicts with their spouses and partners. That’s why 14% of British Columbia residents reported being homeless. “It’s really big.”

Judy Graves, a former homeless advocate for the city, talks to homeless men Smiley (left) and Dave on Broadway in Vancouver in 2011.
Judy Graves, a former homeless advocate for the city, talks to homeless men Smiley (left) and Dave on Broadway in Vancouver in 2011. Photo by Jenelle Schneider / /state

There are already a large number of government homes offered exclusively to women, including transition shelters for people facing domestic violence, but Graves says there are no men-only homes, including fathers and their children. Said. She believes she should be.

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“I think it’s actually harder for men to break up a marriage than women,” she says, and while many women quickly gain support from social networks, men often drink alone. increase. “Men really need help and counseling right after a domestic conflict.”

The Ministry of Housing has asked many post-media questions about the homeless, such as why there is no shelter for men, given that the government is focusing on passing all policies through the “gender lens”. I didn’t answer directly.

Instead, spokesman Sarah Bad argued that the NDP government believed that homeless women were undervalued. That’s why I want to provide them with more housing.

Graves calls Victoria’s approach “reverse gender politics.”

Graves said one of the reasons is that most of the indigenous men and women are out on the streets and live in tents and shelters, resulting in a shortage of protected homes across Canada. I added.

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“Many of the homes in the reserve were built 40 years ago and are collapsing,” she said, and indigenous peoples in the reserve are not allowed to own their own homes.

“Also, it was built just for the family and is often incredibly crowded.” According to her, a reserve for singles who are most likely to need a place to live. There are few small housing units.

In recent homeless numbers, blacks are underestimated compared to BC's population, while South Asians, East Asians, and other racial groups are significantly underestimated. (Source: BC Homeless Count, 2020-21)
In recent homeless numbers, blacks are underestimated compared to BC’s population, while South Asians, East Asians, and other racial groups are significantly underestimated. (Source: BC Homeless Count, 2020-21)

The number of homeless foreign-born people in British Columbia has nearly doubled compared to the previous number in 2018, up to 8% of the total.

But that’s well below the state average, where one in three people seek immigrants, refugees, and permanent residence. Graves suggested that foreign-born homeless people can be underestimated because people with “uncertain immigrant status” tend to hide from the counter.

“People have to be trained in where to look.”

“Housing and homeless support has reached more than $ 1.2 billion annually over the next three years, triple the level of funding in 2017,” the Ministry of Housing said in a budget spend this year.

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Douglas Todd: Homeless Painful Demographics

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