Tents lined up on 135A Street in Surrey, June 17, 2018.


Nick Procaylo / PNG

Local not-for-profit RainCity Housing has launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of the need for affordable and social housing in Vancouver.

A new interactive website, vancouverstreetview.ca, allows users to toggle between Google Street View images taken in the last four years and, by juxtaposing snapshots from then and now, see how the homeless population has grown across Metro Vancouver.

Statistics from Metro Vancouver show a 30 per cent increase in homelessness between 2014 and 2017, and in the City of Vancouver, there has been a 21 per cent increase over that same timeframe.

“The Google Street View images in our campaign, much like the homeless counts, are just snapshots in time of a much larger issue,” said Aaron Munro, Associate Director at RainCity Housing. “The campaign images show homelessness in the Greater Vancouver Area is changing our cities, but that there is a solution in providing affordable and social housing, and we need to show our support around it.”

RainCity’s initiative launched this week, just as modular housing becomes available at 135A Street in Surrey, one of the campaign’s highlighted areas.

More housing is on the way, with over 200 units completed in 2017 and approximately 1,500 more units approved.

Still, the need goes beyond that, and the organization hopes that their “Vancouver Street View” campaign will inspire people to contact their local municipality and show support for social housing in their neighbourhood.

“After almost 15 years in this field it’s become clear that the longer we leave people outside, the more ill they become,” said Munro. “This makes it more difficult for people to transition back inside, and there’s more trauma they have to work through once they do. We need to act quickly and respectfully stop this from happening to any more of our neighbours.”

hmooney@postmedia.com


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