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Personal
Yours Truly

Year /

2016

Yes, our homeless neighbors need financial help to get back on track. But I believe that the root of this problem of homelessness is "social discrimination". To solve a problem, we need to understand the problem. For this problem of homelessness, we need to understand our homeless neighbors. And the first step to understand them is to listen to their stories. This project is not about "solving" the homeless problem, but it is about helping the citizens to understand their neighbors better after reading their stories. Like all of us, they have their stories to share. We all have stories.

01 / Homelessness in Vancouver

Our government and agencies are working hard to provide more affordable housings to homeless people. But the number of homeless people is not decreasing. 

Despite all this effort, why is the number of homeless neighbors not decreasing?

Homelessness in Vancouver

The number of homeless neighbors in Vancouver has been consistently increasing. In 2014, it has been reported that 2,777 of our neighbors are without homes. And the number does not seem to stop increasing. And you might think, "Why is the government not doing anything about it?". While it is true that we need much more support and effort from the government, it has been trying to tackle this problem.

In 2013, 260 agencies in Vancouver spent $360 million to support housing. From 2013 to 2014, the government of BC spent $521 million to have more than 2,200 supportive housings. And from 2014 to 2019, the federal government plans to put $41 million in order to create more than 6,200 housing units for the city. 

Despite all this effort and money, why is the number of homeless neighbors not decreasing?

02 / Problem

Maybe the fundamental problem of homelessness is not about money or number of housings. 

Maybe the problem lies within ourselves. Maybe they just need some encouragement and warm smiles from their neighbors.

Why is the number of homeless neighbors not decreasing?

With this question, I visited number of homeless shelters and agencies to ask what they think the real problem was. Then, I soon found out what might be the answer. 

They all agreed that our homeless neighbors do need adequate income and affordable housing to move on. However, soon after they restart, they lose their momentum (or do not even try to restart) because they feel invisible in our society. 

Most of homeless neighbors live on streets and wait for help to come. Sometimes, they ask strangers for some change or food. A lot of times, they just sit still with a sign and put their heads down. And it is very rare to see someone walking over or meet their eyes and say, "Good morning". And it is understandable. It is hard to talk to a stranger already, and when it is a "homeless person", it can be much harder. But why is that? I believe it is because of the stereotype we built around them that they are dangerous.