Opinion Survey 2012

October 4, 2012

Survey Finds One-in-Four Lower Mainland Residents Know Someone Homeless in Past Five Years

(Vancouver, B.C.) Today, in preparation for the Seventh Annual Homelessness Action Week (October 7 – 13), the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness released Community Values Public Opinon Survey Report, setting out  the results of its first ever public opinion survey on homelessness.

“There were some surprises for us in this survey including the fact that nearly one in four residents claim to know someone who is either currently homeless or has been homeless in the last five years,” commented Alice Sundberg, Co-chair of the Regional Steering Committee. “While empathy is increasing, residents are not satisfied with the rate of progress in addressing homelessness throughout the region. Affordable housing is seen as a top priority.”

Seventy-one per cent say they agree with the idea that it is possible to have a community in which there will be a home for everyone that chooses to have one but a majority (54%) said housing in their community should be there for the people who can afford it.

“The majority of residents think job training and employment opportunities are the preferred way to address Aboriginal homelessness,” noted Patrick Stewart, Chair of the AHSC. “Thirty-two per cent see culturally appropriate programs and services for Aboriginal people are an important solution.”

“Youth homelessness has been a priority for Vancouver Foundation for four years,” said Vancouver Foundation President and CEO, Faye Wightman. “And so we are pleased that people see this as a serious issue. The findings suggest less understanding of the pathways to homelessness for young people, including youth transitioning out of care. We know these youth are particularly vulnerable to homelessness, which is why we are now focusing our work on youth who are transitioning out of government care.”

The survey was conducted from September 10 to 12, 2012 by Angus Reid Public Opinion and included 1,006 randomly selected adults in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

For information and interviews contact:
Helesia Luke, Co-ordinator Homelessness Action Week
Office: 778.786.2838 | Cell: 778.858.0553

Community Values: A Public Opinion Survey About Homelessness in Metro Vancouver

Key Findings: 

1.    Homelessness is one of the major concerns in the Lower Mainland, next to affordable housing and transportation.

2.    For nearly one in four residents, homelessness is personal because they know someone who is either currently homeless or has been homeless in the last five years.

3.    Only one in three residents are satisfied with progress made so far in addressing homelessness in the region.

4.    Residents are far more concerned about homelessness among people with disabilities, children, youth and seniors than any other group.

5.    Residents regard the provision of affordable housing with support services as the primary solution to homelessness in the region.

6.    Residents believe priority must be given to preventing youth homelessness by increasing job training and employment opportunities and increasing programs that build self-esteem and life-skills.  For youth who are already homeless, residents believe we must focus on increasing job training and employment opportunities, increasing access to drug treatment and rehab services, and increasing programs that build self-esteem and life skills.  More policing is not seen as a good solution to helping homeless youth.

7.    The majority of residents also see job training and employment opportunities as the preferred way to address Aboriginal homelessness.

8.    Overall, residents are compassionate towards the homeless. Approximately 9 out of 10 believe that homeless people should have access to services and information and also that homeless people should be treated with dignity and respect.

9.    Residents also remain optimistic about homelessness with a significant majority believing that it is possible to have a community in which there will be a home for everyone that wants one.

10.    While residents want all levels of government and community groups to take a greater role in addressing homelessness, they tend to trust non-governmental agencies such as charities, foundations, and churches more with the task of addressing homelessness issues.

Survey Methodology
From September 10 to September 12, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,006 randomly selected adults in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of the Lower Mainland. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

The geographic distribution of survey participants is as follows:

109 Burnaby, New Westminster
166 North Shore
179 Coquitlam. Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows
267 Vancouver, Richmond
286 Surrey, Langley, White Rock, Delta

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