British Columbians Back Housing Action to Alleviate Homelessness

More than half of the province’s residents are dissatisfied with how all three levels of government have managed this issue.

Vancouver, BC [May 3, 2023] – Sizeable proportions of British Columbians believe specific housing measures would reduce homelessness across the province, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, more than four-in-five British Columbians (82%) agree with Increasing temporary housing options for people experiencing homelessness, up two points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in August 2022.

More than three-in-four British Columbians (77%, -1) favour offering incentives to developers if they focus on building affordable housing units, and two thirds (67%, =) agree with devoting tax money to build units to house homeless residents.

More than three-in-five British Columbians (62%, +2) favour changing zoning laws to allow property owners to build more units on standard lots.

Most British Columbians believe three levels of government have done a “bad” or “very bad” job coming up with solutions to deal with homelessness: federal (64%, +3), provincial (59%, +3) and municipal (57%, +2).

Almost four-in-five British Columbians (78%, +5) believe homelessness in the province is a major problem. Fewer feel the same way about homelessness in their municipality (52%, =) or in their neighbourhood (24%, -3).

Two-in-five British Columbians (40%, -2) believe that homelessness has increased in their neighbourhood over the past three years. Almost two thirds (64%, +1) think there has been a surge in their municipality, and four-in-five (80%, +1) report a worsening situation in the province.

Residents of British Columbia remain divided when asked if the problem can be eradicated. Half (50%, +3) think this goal can be reached with the proper funding and policies, while 48% (+2) state that homelessness will always be a problem.

“Only 33% of British Columbians aged 55 and over foresee the eventual termination of homelessness in the province,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (53%) and aged 18-to-34 (74%) are more hopeful.”

A majority of British Columbians (63%, +3) think addiction and mental health issues are to blame “a great deal” for the current situation regarding homelessness in British Columbia.

Fewer of the province’s residents share the same view on other possible causes, including a lack of affordable housing (47%, -6), poverty and inequality (34%, -7), personal actions and decisions (31%, +1) and bad economy and unemployment (19%, -5).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from April 23 to April 25, 2023, 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]