Homeless campers on the rise amidst housing crisis
Published Saturday, October 27, 2018 6:13PM PDT
They come in all shapes, models, and sizes.
They’re meant as a form of transportation, but vehicles also offer refuge for those on the brink of homelessness in Vancouver.
Darryl, who only wanted to share his first name, said he was forced out of his basement suite of 10 years and had to choose between living in a tent city or living in his 1990s Ford Winstar.
“I can barely afford [the van] let alone pay another $400 or $500 of rent,” he said. “With the cost of moving, I had to rent a container to try and save my belongings.”
Darryl’s situation is not unique, according to newly elected city councilor Pete Fry.
Fry claims this is a growing phenomenon along West Coast cities, adding he’s seen similar situations in Seattle, Portland and San Diego. He said in those cities, there are safe and secure lots for the vulnerable.
“People that have no place else to go can park there and can have access to toilets, running water, showers and outreach services,” Fry said.
He thinks this could be a temporary measure to address the housing crisis in Vancouver with winter approaching.
Another councilor said the city is working to help those in need.
“Some of these people go to work, and are trying very hard to be able to sustain themselves and their lives,” said Coun. Melissa De Genova. “I understand that our staff has a lot of compassion for them."
“When our engineering team comes across a person or family in this situation they work closely with our housing team to make sure these individuals get all the resources and help that they need.”
Meanwhile on the street, Darryl’s plan is to save up enough money to fix his van and drive it out of Vancouver entirely, and head to Ontario.
“You can get houses down there cheaper than you can get up here,” he explained. “For $700 you can get a nice two-bedroom house on its own property.”
Having lost his job with the collapse of Greyhound, he doesn’t know how long that could take.
This man was forced out his basement suite of 10 years, now he lives in his Ford Windstar. pic.twitter.com/qjBBePw2qj— Emad Agahi (@emadagahiCTV) October 27, 2018