Two men console each other after throwing out their tent before leaving the tent city in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver October 15, 2014.Reuters
In 2018, more than 2,100 people live on the streets of Vancouver, Canada — a record number for the city.
Over the past three years, homelessness in the Greater Vancouver area has also increased by 30%, a figure that’s on-par with other major North American metro areas struggling with their own growing homelessness crises, like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.
The reasons behind urban homelessness are complicated. But experts have pointed to income inequality and gentrification, shortages in tax subsidies for affordable housing, and rising mental healthcare costs that make services less accessible.
A new project called Vancouver Street View visualizes just how dire the city’s homelessness epidemic has gotten in recent years. Created by RainCity Housing, a local nonprofit, the site shows photos of Vancouver streets before and after homeless communities set up informal tent camps.
Take a look below.
In the 2017 photo below, people are sleeping in front of shops on a main thoroughfare in the Gastown neighborhood.
52 East Hastings Street in 2015 (top) vs 2017 (bottom).Vancouver Street View/Google
Other North American cities are grappling with their own homelessness crises. In May, San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell pledged $29.1 million for homeless services.
Jonathan Payne, a homeless man, takes down tarps he had used to protect his possessions during an El Nino driven storm in San Francisco, California January 6, 2016.Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
The money will go toward the construction of 197 permanent apartment buildings with approximately 7,700 total units, the most per capita of any city in the US, according to Curbed. In 2017, the city counted 7,499 people living on its streets.
Vancouver expects more than 600 permanent subsidized homes and 600 temporary modular homes to open by the end of 2018.
2456 Fraser Street in 2012 (top) vs 2017 (bottom).Vancouver Street View/Google
So far, 156 modular units have opened, the Vancouver Courier reports. The Vancouver Native Housing Society building pictured above, opened in 2014 with 103 units for the homeless.