British Columbians Say Homelessness Has Increased in Province

Most residents think all levels of government have done a “bad job” coming up with solutions to deal with this problem.

Vancouver, BC [August 19, 2022] – Majorities of residents of British Columbia are disappointed with the way their elected officials have addressed the issue of homelessness, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 61% of British Columbians think the federal government has done a “bad” or “very bad” job coming up with solutions to deal with homelessness.

More than half of British Columbians also believe both the provincial government (56%) and their municipal government (55%) have done a “bad” or “very bad” job on this file.

More than seven-in-ten British Columbians (73%) consider the current situation related to homelessness in the province as a major problem—a proportion that rises to 83% in the Fraser Valley.

More than half of the province’s residents (52%) think homelessness in their municipality is a major problem, while 27% feel the same way about the current state of affairs in their neighbourhood.

Practically four-in-five British Columbians (79%) believe homelessness has increased across the province over the past three years, and more than three-in-five (63%) feel the same way about the current situation in their municipality. Just over two-in-five (42%) also say that homelessness has intensified in their neighbourhood.

When asked about factors that are to blame “a great deal” for the current situation regarding homelessness in the province, most British Columbians point the finger at addiction and mental health issues (60%) and a lack of affordable housing (53%).

Fewer British Columbians blame poverty and inequality (41%), personal actions and decisions (30%) and bad economy and unemployment (24%) for homelessness.

British Columbians are evenly split on whether homelessness can be eradicated. While 47% of the province’s residents believe this can be achieved with the proper funding and policies, 46% claim that homelessness will always be a problem in British Columbia.

“More than three-in-five British Columbians aged 55 and over (62%) believe that the notion of a province without homelessness is unattainable,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Fewer of their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (39%) and aged 18-to-34 (34%) are skeptical.”

Most British Columbians agree with four different ideas to reduce homelessness in the province: increasing temporary housing options for people experiencing homelessness (80%), offering incentives to developers if they focus on building affordable housing units (78%), devoting tax money to build units to house homeless residents (67%) and changing zoning laws to allow property owners to build more units on standard lots (60%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from August 13 to August 15, 2022, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]