Crews with the City of Surrey cleared a 5-acre parcel of private land on the north side of King George Boulevard, west of 112th Avenue, which had formed part of a homeless camp until Saturday.

The Sanctuary Tent City is one of several encampments around Surrey that swelled in numbers after more than 170 people who were living in tents along the so-called 135A Street strip were moved off in June 2018. Many people went to shelters or temporary modular housing, but some found new outdoor places to stay.

Residents at the encampment say the clean-up has forced many of them to move off the part of the encampment that is on private land.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was elected on a promise to build 85,000 new housing units over 10 years, an attempt to outdo the previous administration’s 2017 commitment to build 72,000 new homes.

But recently released data shows the city is falling far behind its own original targets.

And the biggest shortfall is in badly needed new rental apartment buildings.

In the first three-quarters of 2019, just 649 new rental units were approved, far short of Vancouver’s annual target of 2,000.

And just 349 units have been completed so far this year, compared to last year’s banner year of 1,427 units completed.

There is someone waiting on a list for affordable housing in more than 283,000 households across the country, Statistics Canada says in a new batch of data that also sheds light on what Canadians think about the cost of housing overall.

The survey data, the first of its kind on wait times for social housing, shows 173,600 households, or nearly two-thirds, were waiting at least two years.

“Tents are not a solution to homelessness, housing with supports is the solution,” said Sue Wheeler, social development manager.

“While we have more than 100 units of housing scheduled to open in the spring, we are continuing to work with the Province, our community partners and those with lived experience to try and secure supports and an adequate number of overnight shelter beds to accommodate people currently sleeping outside.”

In BC, law specifies that when there’s insufficient housing and shelter space for people experiencing homelessness, a municipality can’t prohibit all parks and public spaces from being used for temporary overnight sheltering.

In a year in which Vernon has seen the opening of a low-income apartment complex, the city’s homeless population has seen a modest decrease.

In 2018 an annual homeless count found that 161 people were living on the streets in Vernon, according to a report that will be presented to Vernon City Council on Monday. This year’s count found there were 151 homeless people living in the city.

Disturbing statistics are emerging from Parry Sound in advance of National Housing DayNovember 22, a day in which the community recognizes the need for safe, affordable place to call home.

  • Up to 16 years on the waitlist for a single individual to obtain social housing (rent-geared-to-income) unit in the Town of Parry Sound and up to seven years on the east side of the District for families.
  • A 1 per cent vacancy rate among the private rental market leading to high rental costs compared to average income and a necessity among renters to accept sub-par units due to the limited housing stock
  • 17 per cent of the district homelessness involved children
  • 47 per cent of homeless struggle with addictions
  • 56 per cent have mental health challenges

Bruce County updated its affordable housing and homelessness plans this summer, amid recent increases in demand for affordable housing.

The plan shows the waiting list to get into Bruce County’s 700 geared-to-income housing and affordable housing at 80 per cent of market rents soared by 60 per cent between 2015 and 2018, from 306 people on the list to 489.

And just 20 per cent of Bruce County’s population could afford to buy a home at the average resale price in the county in 2018, according to the plan.