BURNABY, B.C. - Vancouver-area politicians say more needs to be done to help homeless people in their region after the latest count shows a 30 per cent increase in three years for those who don't have a place to live.

Initial results from Metro Vancouver's 2017 homeless count show there were 3,605 people identified as being homeless on March 8, up 828 people from the last regional count in 2014.

The regional census takes place once every three years, counts people staying in temporary housing such as shelters and on the street, but advocates caution that the actual number of homeless could be much higher.

The count indicates Vancouver has the highest homeless population, at 2,138 people, followed by Surrey, with 602.

Nicole Read, co-chairwoman of Metro Vancouver's Regional Homelessness Task Force, says there are now 70 makeshift camps throughout the region, showing there has been a "system-wide failure" affecting the community's most-vulnerable people.

Metro Vancouver is calling on the province to commit to the regional district's homelessness action plan, which includes opening 1,000 units of transitional housing each year for the next three years.